Lester Young testifies in support of South Carolina’s Workforce Opportunity Act
March 6, 2023
JLUSA Senior Movement and Capacity Building Specialist Lester Young testified on March 2 at the State House in Columbia, SC, in support of South Carolina’s Workforce Opportunity Act, which would prohibit the state and its agencies from asking about a person’s criminal history or record when they are applying for a job until they have gotten an interview or a conditional job offer.
Speaking with WIS News 10, he says, “It was kind of discouraging to walk out of prison and ready to go to work and start your life over, and people are telling you you are not good enough to work for them. It was not that you couldn’t do the job but because you had a felony conviction.”
Lawmakers’ consideration of the bill comes as more than 100,000 jobs across South Carolina remain unfilled. Supporters argue this could help fill open jobs, as state agencies, like so many other employers in South Carolina, are having trouble finding workers.
“You’ve got a pool of men and women who are out there unemployed that need a job,” says Young. “How do you solve that problem? It’s start hiring those with felony convictions.”