Research highlights success with employing ex-offenders

A person giving handcuff keys to a second person who is wearing handcuffs

With the shrinking labor market, employers are looking at new pools of job applicants. Many employers want to explore utilizing ex-offenders but are not sure where to start or may be nervous about trying something new. The U.S. Military provided a great lab for to prove that ex-offenders can thrive in the workforce.

Presented at an academic conference but not yet peer-reviewed, the evaluation finds that:

  • Individuals who have been arrested for felony-level offenses have similar attrition rates to those with no criminal record.
  • Ex-felons are no more likely to terminate for conduct reasons than their non-felon waiver counterparts.
  • Individuals with felony-level criminal backgrounds are promoted more quickly and to higher ranks than other enlistees.

The report also states that the military’s “whole person” review process is very similar to EEOC guidelines for using an individualized assessment to review applicants with criminal records, and “offers the opportunity for the kind of holistic review that has proved successful in the military context.”

For information on how to connect with the local Re-Entry task force that helps with ex-offender re-employment, contact Kris Baldwin at the WIB by email to or call 417-206-1717, Extension 111.