Last Updated: February 11, 2024
In today’s progressive business landscape, companies have started offering former felons work opportunities since they started recognizing the value added by hard workers looking to set their past wrongs, rebuild their lives, and reintegrate into society.
In the world of second chances, the following 20 companies, all of which are wildly popular and successful, allow you to put your best foot forward.
So check them out right away!
Why Are Jobs Important for Ex-Felons?
Finding work is a crucial step for former criminals since it allows them to start a new beginning toward a better future. After all, employment provides food and purpose and is the gateway towards becoming a functioning member of society.
But for people with a felony conviction, landing a job is not always easy since prejudice towards former felons is still prevalent across all spheres of society.
Thankfully, some of the biggest companies started a workforce revolution, which is bound to spur further actions that will offer anyone a second chance at life.
Best Companies That Hire Felons in the U.S.
The list below includes businesses operating in various sectors, from retail to software development, but they are all advocating for inclusive employment practices.
Ultimately, a person’s abilities and willingness to work are more important than the stigma of a criminal conviction following them. So if you belong to this group and are looking for a personal and professional transformation, check out all these opportunities.
Yes, you heard it right: McDonald’s hires felons! In efforts to diminish discrimination, many of its restaurants accept applications from people with criminal histories.
Although the precise locations of these restaurants are unknown, according to info from McDonald’s employees, a felony won’t be an obstacle to building a career there.
The company’s top priority is the applicant’s skill set. And skillful employees will get plenty of chances for advancement. The best part is: they get competitive salaries!
If you are not looking for glamour but a steady income instead, try Walmart!
This retail giant has always supported ethical hiring practices. As a matter of fact, Walmart endorsed the Ban the Box initiative and the Fair Chance Business Pledge.
They offer an open hiring procedure where candidates are asked about their criminal past during the review, but such histories do not necessarily disqualify them.
Those with crimes have the opportunity to advance to managerial positions, except in areas dealing with firearms. Once on board, it’s critical to take advantage of all of Walmart’s options and follow the company’s rules of conduct.
Facebook has been an equal employment opportunity company for a while now. This affirmative action employer explicitly states that applicants with criminal pasts will be taken into consideration based on their skills and experiences.
Like most other huge businesses, Facebook signed the Fair Chance Pledge, which removes all barriers to career development for the previously incarcerated. You only need to meet the skill and experience requirements to get a job there.
All in all, this software behemoth is committed to eradicating the stigma associated to former felons since it recognizes the benefits of a diverse workforce and giving people second chances. Best of all, Facebook offers competitive salaries and benefits.
Microsoft has frequently offered jobs to rehabilitated felons in the past and is still proudly continuing that tradition to this day. In fact, certain programs, such as the Workforce Foundation, have collaborated with this tech giant to offer felon-friendly jobs.
In addition, Microsoft also supports Ban the Box and the Fair Chance Pledge initiatives and regularly posts job vacancies on felon-friendly employment sites.
While the firm performs criminal record checks for safety reasons, it does not use the findings during its decision-making processes. Hirees even get the necessary training to develop the skills needed to advance their career.
If you are looking for a job that requires no special skills yet still grants opportunities to former felons and a decent and steady paycheck, check out Starbucks.
Plus, you get it all as a Starbucks employee, from health coverage and time off to subsidized education. That said, you’ll still be subjected to a background check, but your criminal past will not stand in your way of landing a job there.
If you prove you are a trustworthy candidate who will do the job safely and responsibly, then you’ll be welcomed as a new employee.
You can even find a job with the world’s leading beverage company, as Coca-Cola has been accepting felon applicants based on merit for a while now.
That said, applicants must still undergo certain background and criminal checks, which is a standard hiring procedure regardless of the candidate’s history.
If and when the applicant passes the hiring tests, they’ll be welcomed to the Coca-Cola family, which includes a healthy and friendly work environment, various training opportunities, and a path to advancement.
Getting a job at Verizon is challenging for anyone, let alone former felons. But that doesn’t mean you cannot find work there with sufficient skill and persistence.
However, Verizon’s policy states that it will review the applicant’s criminal record to determine whether or not the circumstances surrounding the arrest and the exact charge are not related to the position and the performance required to hold it.
As long as you are honest during the hiring process, Verizon’s staff will not discriminate against you based on whether or not you’ve had trouble with the law.
8. Home Depot
Home Depot officially welcomes ex-felons ready to redeem themselves and build a new life. After all, the company signed the Ban the Box initiative and won’t ask applicants whether they have committed any crimes in the past.
That said, they still conduct background checks, and the type of felony committed may still weigh in their decision whether or not to hire a specific former criminal. For instance, sex or violent offenders are less likely to be hired than other ex-criminals.
Once you go for an interview, however, you can increase your chances of landing a job by being honest about your past and future and showing them that you can do the job and care about working there.
Airline companies weren’t typically open to hiring felons in the past, but with the global changes post the Covid-19 pandemic, they loosened up their policies; one such airline potentially hiring ex-convicts is Delta, but the process is lengthy.
For example, all applicants undergo rigorous testing and background checks, and some types of felonies may prevent you from getting a job there.
If and when you get in, however, you may be subjected to regular Covid tests and drug screenings, which airline companies generally enforce.
10. Ben & Jerry’s
Ben & Jerry’s is a progressive company in terms of its hiring policies since it does not discriminate against anyone and offers fantastic working conditions.
In the last decade, the brand has also jumped on the Ban the Box bandwagon, which means that applicants are not required to disclose whether or not they were ever convicted of a crime. Like it or not, ex-criminals are feared or looked down on.
Thankfully, Ben & Jerry’s offers equal opportunities to any applicant, and as long they pass the background screening and show their potential, they’ll be hired.
You may also be able to find a great job at Unilever—a multinational company selling all sorts of packaged goods, ranging from baby food to beauty products.
Like most other companies, Unilever conducts the necessary background checks to ensure they are hiring the right applicants, but it does not typically discriminate against former felons—the brand runs the ‘Equity, Diversity & Inclusion’ slogan, after all.
That said, the hiring experience may vary based on the exact position, the interviewer, and the location where you are applying. If you are in the U.S., you will typically have to submit to a background screening in any case.
When applying at Amazon, your résumé and interview skills will matter much more than your criminal past. There are positions available in any Amazon branch, including the warehouse, management, and development.
However, your chances of getting started with Amazon are better if you apply for a position in a warehouse before building your way up the ladder since Amazon’s HR managers will always check your background and the severity of your crime.
Reliable, diligent, and honest workers who do their job on time and improve their skillset will have an opportunity to advance with Amazon.
Few know that ex-felons can also get a job at Intel. It’s true! If you want to work at the cutting edge of technology, you can, criminal record or not!
This semiconductor giant has openly announced it’s hiring ex-felons by signing the Fair Chance Pledge, which was confirmed by an official statement released stating that criminal records will not prevent applicants from landing a job there.
Still, the nature and the gravity of the offense and the conviction will be taken into consideration and may weigh in depending on the position in question.
Starting a career at Pepsi is not an easy task, but at least your criminal past will not typically prevent you from landing a job, provided you have the skills required.
Known for its broad range of snacks and drinks, PepsiCo, Inc. offers job opportunities across multiple areas, including administration, finance, legal, R&D, technology, marketing & sales, production & operations, and even supply chain work.
However, if you get your second chance there, you are responsible for maintaining the highest moral standards and adhering to PepsiCo’s fundamental principles.
If you have a background in the medical field, you can also apply at Abbott Laboratories, arguably the largest medical device and healthcare company in the U.S.
Abbott is a leader in workforce diversity, employing more than 100,000 people worldwide across every demographic and with different backgrounds. As proof of that, the company has been named as one of the most diverse employers on several lists.
At the end of the day, giving those with criminal backgrounds an equal opportunity to share their talents and knowledge is part of Abbott’s culture of tolerance.
Ex-convicts with advanced skills and degrees in engineering and manufacturing may be able to land a job at Tesla. Yes, that Tesla—the innovative tech pioneer that builds the cars and energy generation and storage systems of the future.
However, even if Tesla does not discriminate against former felons, its hiring process is quite rigorous, and only exceptional candidates are hired to work there.
That said, you will still have to undergo a complete background check, so you have to ensure everything else is in order, thus boosting your employment chances.
17. Tyson Foods
Similar to Walmart, Tyson Foods is a well-known food company that stands out for its fair hiring policies regardless of the applicant’s history or demographics.
Even when filling out your application, you won’t find a single question asking about past convictions, which means your skills and experience are key to landing a role. The company simply puts faith in people’s ability to change and turn over a new leaf.
If you know where to look, there are plenty of job opportunities at Tyson Foods, and you’ll be well on your way to rebuilding your second life.
Are you a fan of Swedish meatballs and puzzle-like furniture? Why not look for a job at IKEA, then? The company does not stigmatize ex-felons, anyway.
However, your success will vary based on your specific circumstances. Naturally, you’ll have to agree to a background check, and when past convictions come up, you have to explain yourself, show remorse, and state you are starting your new life.
Overall, the company’s recruiting strategy involves evaluating candidates on merit and guaranteeing a balanced and equitable hiring approach.
When recruiting people with a criminal history, Prudential, one of the biggest and most renowned financial services firms, employs a thorough selection process.
However, given the delicate nature of Prudential’s operations, fraud-related convictions will prevent you from obtaining a job there. Because of that, you must have a stellar CV and an abundance of experience to offset other past convictions on your record.
That said, your chances of landing a job in the financial sector after completing a sentence are slim. Give it your best, but do not get disheartened if you don’t get in.
Last but not least, let’s talk Uber! Everyone has heard of and used Uber, probably. Have you ever thought: “Hey, that’s something I can do!”?
The good news is: yes, you can, since Uber has expressed its support for hiring anyone, even past convicts, since everyone deserves a second chance. To show its commitment, the brand has even joined a slew of companies supporting ex-felons.
Depending on your state of residence, you may also have access to certain training programs that will help you get a job with Uber. For instance, former felons in California can contact Defy Ventures, which provides job training to such applicants.
In a nutshell, as more businesses recognize the worth and possibilities offered by these candidates, their chances of finding good employment will keep growing. While the primary benefit of these changes is the new work opportunities made available to former felons, other marginalized groups will also benefit down the line. After all, by advocating for fair policies and support programs, we empower everyone in society at large.