What is Project Open Door?

Project Open Door is an initiative led by the JAX Chamber to encourage employers to delay criminal background inquiries to the interview process. Also known as “ban the box” in other communities, this is a voluntary effort to afford more opportunity to all Jacksonville citizens while helping support the regional economy.

Many employers are demonstrating an ongoing commitment to take action to reduce barriers to a fair shot at a second chance, including delaying criminal history questions until later in the hiring process; ensuring that information regarding an applicant’s criminal record is considered in proper context; and engaging in hiring practices that do not unnecessarily place jobs out of reach for those with criminal records.

This is not something we are trying to address at City Hall or in Tallahassee. This is the business community leading the way and agreeing that by not immediately excluding someone with an arrest record, we make a positive change in our companies and in our community.

1 As an employer, what are you asking me to do?

To hold off asking about an applicant’s criminal record until the interview process.

2 Does this mean people with criminal records get priority over people who don’t?

No. This in no way tilts the scales in favor of people with a record. It simply levels the playing field at the beginning of the hiring process by not immediately rejecting someone because he or she has a prior arrest or conviction.

3 How does this change my hiring process?

Very little. The only thing we are asking is that employers wait until the interview phase to ask someone if they have a record. This allows the applicant to explain his or her circumstances, rather than being discarded from the start because of questions on the job application about a record.

Read More

Opening the door lets people in… and helps businesses grow.

When employers ask up front on an employment application about prior arrests or criminal convictions, it is too easy to dismiss those candidates right away without hearing their story. With a tight labor market, it makes good economic sense for the region—more citizens working means reduced recidivism, increased spending and improved quality of life for everyone.

Most importantly, everyone deserves a second chance.

By signing on with Project Open Door, employers are voicing strong support for economic opportunity for all, including the approximately 70 million Americans who have some form of a criminal record.

Thank you to the following businesses and organizations who have committed to Project Open Door and will not ask about an applicant’s criminal background until the interview.

Take the Pledge

Join the organizations committed to Project Open Door!