Over the past year and a half, Greater Spokane Incorporated has engaged with the Spokane City Council on ways to help get those with a criminal or arrest history back into the workforce, which helps reduce recidivism and expands the applicant pool for businesses seeking qualified employees.
Throughout its development, GSI worked with regional partners on the issue of Ban the Box. Our work includes a partnership with Associated Industries to develop a model job application without a question about criminal history, which can be found on our website.
Additionally, GSI led several well-attended forums on this issue including a public meeting with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and multiple presentations for GSI’s Public Policy Council. Our CEO, Todd Mielke, served as a panelist at the Spokane City Council’s Fair Chance Hiring Forum in March 2016. GSI staff also participated in additional Fair Chance Hiring forums at the Gathering House in January 2017 and Community Building. Our staff also met with Center for Justice staff and members of I Did The Time to discuss Ban the Box and other impediments to employment.
On Monday, Nov. 27, the Council will vote on the Fair Chance Hiring Ordinance which, among other things, will require businesses to remove any questions about criminal history from their job application.
While the GSI Board of Trustees voted to not take a position on the ordinance, a letter from our CEO, Todd Mielke, was submitted to the Council that voices concerns about the likely impacts of the ordinance, particularly on small businesses. We believe that if this issue needs to be addressed with legislative action, it should be done at the state level.
If you’d like to share your thoughts and experiences pertaining to this ordinance, you can testify before the City Council this Monday evening, Nov. 27. Speakers receive three minutes and can sign up at 6 p.m. Spokane City Hall is located at 808 W. Spokane Falls Blvd., enter on Post Street.