LASC Joins SCORE Ohio Coalition to Host CQE Webinar
LASC partnered with SCORE Ohio, the Ohio Poverty Law Center, the Columbus Chamber of Commerce and others to host a webinar about fair-chance hiring and the Certificates of Qualification for Employment (CQE) process. CQEs help people with criminal records obtain employment by providing assurance to employers about the holder’s employability. A CQE holder has voluntarily gone through an intense review process by Ohio rehabilitation officials, a court of common pleas, and other officials.
The webinar brought together employers, CQE holders, social justice advocates and reentry experts who discussed the challenges of the reentry process and benefits of CQEs. Panelists talked candidly about the process and impact of second-chance hiring. “As a professional, we need to really openly accept and admit our biases around justice exposure,” said Craig Stewart, director of human resources for the Mid-Ohio Food Collective. “If we don’t do that it’s not going to be successful for us. We’ve got to put aside stereotypes and beliefs that we’ve been given that individuals who are justice exposed are not going to be successful in the workplace. I can assure everybody on this event today that that is not the case.”
CQE holder Joey Green shared that obtaining a CQE has empowered him to take on exciting professional and volunteer opportunities. “I feel like a load has been lifted off of me, that I can go in any direction I want to go in,” said Green, who works as a program coordinator for the Columbus Urban league’s Reentry program. “I’m confidant whatever door I knock on will open for me.”
The webinar concluded with a call to action for the employers in attendance to pledge to offer meaningful opportunities to individuals with justice exposure.