Mayor Emanuel Moves To Increase Employment Opportunities For Ex-Offenders

City Council’s Committee on Budget and Government Operations will consider Mayor Emanuel’s new ordinance designed to help previously incarcerated individuals find and obtain job training and education required to re-enter the workplace.

To reduce barriers commonly faced by ex-offenders seeking employment, the Mayor’s ordinance will incentivize City construction contractors to sponsor ex-offenders who have been trained through City delegate agencies into apprenticeship programs. This will provide additional job training and employment opportunities to individuals looking to positively contribute to Chicago’s economy.

Under the ordinance, a new bid incentive would be available to select locally-funded construction projects with an estimated contract value of at least $100,000. The bid incentive would be applied on a sliding scale based on the number of labor hours performed by ex-offender apprentices towards a future bid.

Expected to pass the Budget Committee today and City Council on Wednesday, the new initiative follows other key programs created by Mayor Emanuel to support the rehabilitation of ex-offenders, including the expansion of the CTA’s successful Second Chance program last year. These investments have paid off — with more than 3,600 formerly incarcerated individuals gaining support they need to thrive through city programs, a four-fold increase from the 900 served in 2011.

Last year alone, 1,400 formerly incarcerated individuals received pre-employment training and job placement opportunities.