John Shegerian is an entrepreneur, environmental and social issues activist, international speaker and the Chairman and CEO of Electronic Recyclers International who has employed hundreds of ex-convicts in the past 20 years.
Following the Rodney King beating in 1993, Shegerian helped start Homeboy Industries, which helps at-risk, recently released and former gang members in Los Angeles become contributing members of their communities through a variety of services, including helping find them jobs.
"I was the king of second chances before there were second chances," Shegerian said. "This has changed my life." [Read related article: Would You Hire an Ex-Con?]
Shegerian provided BusinessNewsDaily with his top five reasons small business owners should consider hiring an ex-offender.
1. Their work ethic, Shegerian said, is bar none and provides a great example to all employees of how hard they should be working.
"These people give 120 percent every day," he said. "They appreciate the chance to have a job."
2. They have great transferable skills, according to Shegerian, which usually translate very effectively in the workplace.
"If you take the skills that got them into trouble in the first place, and use them for a legitimate business venture, everyone wins," he said. "I have seen scores of people with transferable skills put these skills to work in the business world."
3. Ex-offenders, Shegerian said, have turnover rates that are lower than the general population. They know this is their last chance, which he says provides them extra motivation to keep their job.
"They try harder to and take their job very seriously," he said.
4. It is the right thing to do for local communities. Shegerian said business, big and small, can play a huge role in hiring ex-offenders.
"Imagine what would happen to our recidivism rates, gang participation rates, crime rates and drug abuse rates if every business in the US opened their doors and their hearts to hire just one ex offender," he said
"We would change our communities for the better forever."
5. Hiring an ex-offender gives small business owners the chance to do something great and impactful, according to Shegerian. He quotes Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in saying "everyone can be great because everyone can serve."
"It is no longer smart to wait for politicians to fix all the problems in our society," Shegerian said. "Big and small businesses have a great role in doing their part."
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