In 1957 Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'" Today, that question is as persistent and urgent as it was 65 years ago. The CGLA Spirit of Generosity award aims to recognize organizations and individuals who answer this important question through their actions and deeds. CGLA is proud to honor the National Employment Law Project and Indeed as two organizations that can boast a long list of good deeds that are making a real impact in the communities CGLA serves.
Since 1969, NELP has been building a strong reputation as a leader in advocating for changes in employment laws, policies, and practices to achieve its mission of “build[ing] a just and inclusive economy where all workers have expansive rights and thrive in good jobs.” In its seminal March 2011 publication “65 Million “Need Not Apply”: The Case for Reforming Criminal Background Checks for Employment” (https://www.nelp.org/publication/65-million-need-not-apply-the-case-for-reforming-criminal-background-checks-for-employment/), NELP highlighted the growing trend of employers’ use of criminal background checks and the disparate and denigrating impacts that resulted from these practices. Their studies revealed that both large and small employers “routinely deny people with criminal records any opportunity to establish their job qualifications.”
CGLA’s Criminal Records staff were fortunate to collaborate with NELP to assist JPMorgan Chase in designing and executing a pilot program to dispel the notion that a person with a criminal record can never be hired to work in the banking industry. NELP also invited CGLA staff to participate in proposing changes to FDIC regulations that expanded the scope of relief for certain offenses and eliminated the need for a waiver for covered offenses that were expunged or sealed. CGLA also contributed to writing a toolkit that provides step-by-step instructions for financial services employers who are committed to fair chance hiring regarding policies and practices they should implement.
NELP’s seeds of reform found fertile ground at Indeed, where the principle “talent is universal; opportunity is not” undergirds their Essentials to Work program (https://www.indeed.com/esg/essentials). Looking inward, Indeed’s Essentials to Work set a goal to help 30 million job seekers facing barriers find employment by 2030. Indeed also modified its job search engine to include “Fair chance hiring” as a search criterion that job seekers can choose to find employers who are willing to hire people with criminal records. Indeed also reached beyond its walls through its corporate foundation, collaborating with NELP to distribute subgrants to organizations throughout the country that engaged in record-clearing work for people with records.
CGLA is proud that NELP recommended us as one of 15 records relief service providers nationwide to receive this generous award. It included a $350,000 subgrant to CGLA to support records relief services, up to 50 computers or laptops and hotspots from PCs for People to be distributed to CGLA clients who are seeking employment or better employment, and $2,000 in Lyft coupons to help clients get to job sites or related appointments and court appearances.
CGLA and our clients have benefited tremendously from Indeed’s generosity, and we are eternally grateful to NELP for recommending us.