For employment, expungement a worthy endeavor

As News staff writer Julie Riddle reported recently, new state laws allow more convicts of minor crimes to have their criminal records expunged, or wiped clean.

Such records can make it harder for people to get a job. Even a more forgiving employer might be more likely to go with a candidate without a record than one with a record, even if the convict has more of the skills required for the job.

The new laws increase the chances that folks with a checkered past will get a fair shake in the application process.

“Everyone makes mistakes,” Angie Asam, special initiatives manager for Michigan Works! Northeast Consortium, told Riddle for the recent story. “To hold that against somebody for the rest of their life is detrimental for the entire region.”

We couldn’t agree more.

And the benefits double in today’s job market. With many workers staying home because of generous unemployment benefits and government stimulus checks, out of fear of the coronavirus, or because they can’t find quality child care, employers have grown so desperate for help they’ve hiked wage offerings and have started offering sign-on and retention bonuses.

That’s a cost many employers can’t afford, with supply chain problems and those employee shortages hurting their ability to bring in revenue. So any help we can get to expand the pool of potential applicants is much needed.

We say thanks to the lawmakers who put the so-called Clean Slate legislation together and to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for signing it into law.

To anyone with a minor criminal record dragging them down, we encourage you to visit MichiganLegalHelp.org or call Michigan Works! at 989-356-3339.



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