Employers across Michigan are clamoring for good employees. With baby boomers beginning to retire, the demand for talented workers increases daily.

Formerly incarcerated people offer an opportunity to help meet Michigan’s talent needs. There’s little wonder employers across the state and nation have begun to focus more on an individual’s qualifications and less on their past offenses. Those who do can tap into a talented pool of motivated workers.

Unfortunately, the employment rate for Michiganders returning to the workforce following incarceration is only 33 percent. Business leaders are working with Safe & Just Michigan to address the reasons why these workers are often barred from jobs.

Kenyatta Brame, executive vice president of Cascade Engineering, a manufacturing company in Grand Rapids, testified before the House Law and Justice Committee on May 9, 2017.

The business case for new safety solutions

Although Michigan invests about $2 billion annually on corrections, not enough is spent on the tools and services that help the formerly incarcerated prepare for available jobs.

In addition, there are many legal barriers to employment for formerly incarcerated people.

This isn’t just a jobs issue — when people are employed it reduces the chance they will return to prison.

Employers are critical partners in both crafting solutions that support the economic development and prosperity of Michigan and making our communities safer.

Be our partner and join us to advance smart and effective safety solutions!


Mike Jandernoa, founder of 42 North Partners, discusses criminal justice reform. Mike and his wife Sue founded 42 North Partners and are leaders in the Michigan business community.