My name is Sue Gunderman and I have been working in reentry for the last nine years providing workforce development training and opportunities to incarcerated parents. I would like to announce a grassroots effort taking place here in Connecticut around employer engagement and hiring individuals who have been involved in the criminal justice system.  This initiative is called "Hire One".  

I created this campaign as the timing is right to increase our efforts locally to engage employers and invite them to take part in providing second chances to those individuals who have found themselves in the criminal justice system. Nationally, President Obama created the Fair Chance Business Pledge where more than 300 employers and higher education institutions signed on to review their hiring practices when it comes to hiring individuals with records. Connecticut, under Governor Malloy, has created the Second Chance Society initiatives providing opportunities to promote successful reintegration back into our communities.  As of January 1, 2017, the Fair Chance Employment Law known as "Ban the Box" was enacted statewide. Also, a recent survey done by the Malta Justice Initiative showed almost 95% of the 300 employers interviewed would hire someone with a record.  

So, I started thinking “what if” every employer hired one individual who has a criminal record here in Connecticut. Thus was born the idea for “Hire One”. This campaign is meant to encourage employers to be the key to providing a second chance to individuals with a record by offering employment opportunities to qualified applicants.

I know not every individual will work out due to some of the challenges they face when they return home, but they are definitely worth the risk.  When you hire anyone, with or without a record, there is always risk.  By providing employment, you create a tax-paying individual who can care for their children and families which can change a person's life forever. When you keep someone out of prison, you not only reduce the cost of incarceration to state taxpayers, but you keep families together while creating safer communities.  

It is my hope this campaign will encourage a dialogue around any concerns employers may have when considering hiring someone with a record, as well as show them there are several benefits and incentives to support them.  

In the weeks and months ahead, I along with countless other community partners will be having several conversations with employers and asking them to take a chance and start by hiring one individual and see where it can lead. I want us to work together to ease employer concerns, provide support, and build a workforce for the future.

Special thank you to Hannah Hurwitz who created the “Hire One” logo.

Hire One Flyer 2017

Spread the word and show your support by wearing a "Hire One" pin.