WASHINGTON—The Manufacturing Institute (MI) and the Charles Koch Institute have formed a partnership with that is focused on expanding second chance hiring opportunities in the manufacturing industry.

“With more than half a million open jobs right now in manufacturing and 4 million jobs to fill over the decade, our industry’s strength and America’s economic future require an all-of-the-above workforce strategy,” says MI Executive Director Carolyn Lee. “Second chance hiring gives businesses an opportunity to welcome highly motivated, engaged, productive and loyal new team members that may otherwise be overlooked.

"This is not only the right thing to do for our businesses, but it’s also the right thing to strengthen our communities. This partnership enables the MI to educate manufacturers in America on second chance hiring best practices and help them utilize second chance hiring as a strategy to fill open jobs. This effort will also expand our Diversity and Inclusion initiative that’s critical to the future health and success of the industry.”

As the workforce development and education partner of the National Association of Manufacturers, MI leads the industry in identifying and addressing institutional barriers to creating and sustaining equal opportunity and a more diverse and inclusive workforce. One-in-three Americans possess a criminal record. Without second chance opportunities, many in this sizable talent pool are excluded from the workforce, needlessly leaving them on the sidelines as employers search for candidates who can fill skills gaps.

The MI will use this grant to provide resources and expertise for employers on second chance hiring as a key solution to address the skills gap in manufacturing. The MI plans to develop and offer roundtable discussions and webinars, C-suite leadership events, case studies, pilot programs and original research tailored for the manufacturing industry.

“One of the biggest barriers to successful reentry for those with a record is lack of employment opportunities,” says CKI Executive Director Derek Johnson. “If we truly want to reduce recidivism and increase public safety, all while empowering those returning to our communities to contribute at their fullest potential, we need to expand second chance hiring opportunities. Businesses are leading the way on this important aspect of criminal justice reform, especially those in the manufacturing industry. CKI is proud to join this partnership to scale that impact and expand second chance hiring across more employers.”

The MI’s diverse initiatives support all workers in America, including women, veterans and students, through skills training programs, community building and the advancement of their career in manufacturing. Equally important, the MI advises manufacturers and equips them with the necessary resources to solve the industry’s toughest challenges. The Charles Koch Institute invests in social entrepreneurs to address problems such as criminal justice reform.