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ASA Is Among First to Sign “Getting Talent Back to Work” Pledge

Pledges to Urge Its Members to Consider the Formerly Incarcerated When Hiring

The American Staffing Association is proud to announce it is an inaugural signatory of the “Getting Talent Back to Work” pledge—part of an effort led by the Society for Human Resource Management to help provide employment opportunities to qualified people with criminal backgrounds. The pledge follows congressional passage of bipartisan criminal justice reform, the “First Step Act,” in December 2018.

SHRM handpicked the group of initial trade association signatories—ASA, the National Restaurant Association, the National Retail Federation, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce—because of the sheer number of people each association’s members employ.

Each year in the U.S., more than 650,000 people re-enter society from prison. Too many are deprived of employment opportunities and, in turn, businesses are deprived of qualified workers.

“Now is the time to quash the stigma of incarceration,” said Richard Wahlquist, ASA president and chief executive officer. “Employers need to embrace greater inclusivity when recruiting and hiring and give qualified individuals a second chance at success in life—particularly when the U.S. labor market is the tightest in history.”

Research conducted by SHRM found that a majority of hiring managers believe workers with a criminal history are high-quality employees equal to or even more effective than those without a criminal history.

“This is a group we, as business leaders, cannot afford to overlook, as one in three adults in the U.S. currently has a criminal background,” said Johnny C. Taylor Jr., SHRM-SCP, SHRM president and chief executive officer. “Not only it is the right thing to do—to give a deserving person a second chance—but it is becoming imperative as businesses continue to experience recruiting difficulty at an alarming rate.”

To assist companies making the pledge, SHRM developed the Getting Talent Back to Work Tool Kit, designed to help businesses apply evidence-based best practices for hiring applicants with a criminal background, understand the legal factors involved, and get practical guidance from industry leaders on recruiting this diverse group of people.

Learn more at

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About the American Staffing Association

The American Staffing Association is the voice of the U.S. staffing, recruiting, and workforce solutions industry. ASA and its state affiliates advance the interests of the industry across all sectors through advocacy, research, education, and the promotion of high standards of legal, ethical, and professional practices. For more information about ASA, visit

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