USC Price Center Launches New Partnership with LeadersUp to Expand Employment Opportunities for Justice-Involved Youth

Nationally, one in three Americans have a criminal record, and by extension, face lifelong barriers to employment and economic mobility for themselves as well as for their families. More than 60% of justice-involved individuals are unemployed one year after being released and those who do find jobs make 40% less in pay annually. The economic impact is felt across the U. S. labor market with the population of former prisoners and people with felony convictions leading to a loss of $78 to $87 billion in GDP in 2014. Thus, building a more inclusive workforce for justice-involved youth – young adults between the ages of 16 and 24 who have been involved in the justice system and as a result are not in school and not working – is a top priority.

To address this challenge, the Price Center and LeadersUp – a national nonprofit focused on ending the youth unemployment crisis – are partnering to address unemployment among young people who have been involved in the juvenile justice system. This work is sponsored by the California Workforce Development Board.

“We know that access to employment provides critical pathways to opportunity, but current employment models do not provide equitable access to jobs for justice-involved individuals. The USC Price Center for Social Innovation is excited to partner with LeadersUp, the California Workforce Development Board, and employers across the Los Angeles region to develop new hiring practices to build a more inclusive workforce for all Angelenos.”

-Gary Painter, Director of the Price Center for Social Innovation

USC and LeadersUp will partner with local businesses and community groups across Los Angeles to develop and test pilot programs designed to improve hiring practices for justice involved young adults. The project will also publish a series of case studies detailing effective hiring practices from these pilots, as well as an employer framework to maximize opportunities for scaling and replicating inclusive hiring practices.

“LeadersUp is proud to partner with the USC Price Center for Social Innovation in this critical initiative to end youth unemployment” said Jeffery Wallace, CEO, LeadersUp. “We cannot afford to overlook the thousands of young people who have been shut out of opportunity due to being involved in the justice system. The future of our workforce and communities depends on our ability to solve this challenge. Our collective work with the Fair Chance Coalition is a promising step in that direction.”




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