A new staffing company in the Fort Collins area is working to connect ex-cons with employment opportunities within workspaces in the region. The company’s aims mimic a national push to help rehabilitate and vocationally place ex-cons after their release.
Jane Northrup, the company’s founder, started Authority Staffing in late 2015 with the goal of helping individuals with criminal backgrounds get back on their feet. The staffing company’s mission is timely, as Colorado’s leaders seek ways to curb discrimination among hiring managers in the state’s workforce.
“There are some people in the system who can knock it out of the park given the right opportunity, coaching and training,” Northrup said. “I don’t care what their background is, they can be a murderer. As long as I can find a company for that person, I’ll take that person on.”
Since December, the staffing company has worked with one employer, Noosa Yogurt, and seven temps. Northrup has plans to expand her payroll and ties with other companies in the near future.
Authority Staffing wants to help a demographic that typically struggles to find stable work. According to statistics, adults who have criminal records account for 20% of all nonworking people between the ages of 25 and 54.
While 57% of employers see retention as a problem within their company, many ex-convicts have difficulty landing a job in the first place, let alone holding it down.
Because of statistics like these, a national “ban the box” movement has taken hold. It seeks to reduce the number by removing check box questions on job applications that ask if one has a criminal record.
Additionally, the movement asks hiring managers to delay background checks until later in the hiring process, allowing employers to more heavily consider the candidate’s qualifications, sans the stigma of a criminal record.
In 2012, Anthony Padilla was convicted of drinking and driving in Logan County and is now having difficulty finding steady employment.
“If you committed a crime, no matter what the crime was, employers don’t even answer you,” Padilla said. “The sad thing about that is most of the time, the crime doesn’t have anything to do with whether you can do the job or not.”
But after six months of unemployment, Padilla was placed at Noosa Yogurt with the help of Authority Staffing.
“(Noosa) came out right away and put all their cards out on the table,” Padilla said.