Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Hiring Criminals

There are few stories about businesses that look forward to hiring former criminals, but the ones that emerge, as this one from BNET, are truly wonderful testaments to the power of individual belief in second chances, forgiveness, and redemption.

An excerpt.

“When I took over Electronic Recyclers International in late 2004, it was a failing company. I decided to restructure and rebrand it. And when it came time to hire new employees, I saw an opportunity to hire individuals from what have typically been marginalized segments of society: former convicts, former gang members, the homeless, people recovering from drug addiction, and people coming off of welfare.

“It wasn’t the first time I’d hired employees looking for a second chance. Back in 1993, I co-founded Homeboy Tortillas and Homeboy Industries — two small businesses that train and employ former gang members, helping them transition into the workforce. It was a landmark moment in my life, and from then on, I wanted to make sure any business I took part in had a bottom line for profit and for social responsibility. I felt strongly about continuing that mission at the recycling company, which safely dismantles and recycles electronic waste.

“Everyone at our company buys into that mission. We posted a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. — “Everyone can be great, because everyone can serve” — over the front door in all of our regional offices. We all agreed that we need to make money, but also that we can seek to turn people’s lives around by opening our doors and our hearts to those in need.”