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Enhancing Employment Opportunities for Ex-Offenders: A Survey of Idaho Employers

NCJ Number
Date Published
10 pages
This report presents findings from a 2005 survey that measured the receptiveness of Idaho employers to hiring individuals who have been incarcerated or have criminal records ("ex-offenders").
Survey results show a willingness of Idaho employers to hire ex-offenders. Regarding job categories for which employers would consider hiring an ex-offender, welding was the most promising occupation, with 86 percent of employers being willing to hire an ex-offender for this occupation. This was followed by small-engine repair (80.8 percent) and landscaping (79.3 percent). Other occupations with relatively high hiring potential for ex-offenders were the construction industry, floor-covering installers, manufacturing, warehousing, transportation, and maintenance-related industries. Occupations for which employers were least likely to hire ex-offenders were clothing production (42.9 percent), video-/media producer (36.8 percent), and library clerk and literacy tutor (both 0.0 percent). A group of employers purposely excluded from the survey were schools, medical and veterinary services, pharmaceuticals, banking, security, and child-care centers. Two elements were necessary for an occupation to be favorable toward hiring ex-offenders: an employer’s willingness to hire ex-offenders and the market for workers in the occupation. As Idaho’s economy continues to grow and the need for workers increases, labor shortages may occur in high-demand occupations, making ex-offenders a more suitable labor pool. If the economy slows, the opposite trend may occur. The skills/habits valued by employers in an employee were being to work on time, being hard-working and ethical, and being a team player. Writing and communication skills were the least important. Other important employee characteristics reported were being clean and neat, being honest, being properly trained, submitting to regular drug testing, and being under close supervision by authorities. A total of 922 surveys were sent to employers throughout Idaho, with a response rate of 29 percent. 4 tables