Equity in action: How Toyota & Kelly are knocking down criminal history barriers

Equity in action: How Toyota & Kelly are knocking down criminal history barriers

The opportunity we saw

For one in three Americans – more than 70 million people – access to quality employment is out of reach due to unjust background screening practices. Expanding access to employment for working-age Americans with a criminal record enables companies to better meet demand, grow, and thrive. It’s not just the right thing, it’s the smart thing to do.

Toyota and Kelly recognized this seven years ago when we partnered to provide job seekers with non-violent criminal histories, who had previously been disqualified from consideration, the opportunity to pursue careers at Toyota Manufacturing of Kentucky in Georgetown.

The action we took

Together, Toyota and Kelly coordinated a program to hire qualified candidates with non-violent misdemeanors and felonies in areas unrelated to their job duties. We removed secondary background screens from the application process and relied on Kelly’s more individualized approach instead.

We also developed DEI strategies and invited educators, policymakers, and members of the community to tour the facility. These efforts enabled Toyota to significantly increase its talent pool, address critical staffing needs, and improve retention rates.

The results we saw

To date Kelly has evaluated more than 1,200 candidates with a criminal record for potential assignments at Toyota, 92% of whom were deemed eligible. More than half of those eligible candidates – 645 job seekers – took temporary assignments at Toyota, and 156 of them were ultimately hired full-time.

As a result of the program, Toyota increased its talent pool by 20%. The plant’s turnover rate improved by an astonishing 70% and now sits at an all-time monthly low of 3%. Not one second chance worker placed at Toyota’s Georgetown, Kentucky plant has been terminated for behavior that correlated to their criminal history. Toyota now fills positions quicker and people across the community applaud the automaker’s commitment to equity. In addition, the overall diversity rate at the plant has grown by more than 8%.


Toyota increased its talent pool by 20%


turnover rate improved by an astonishing 70%


diversity rate at the plant has grown by more than 8%

The public support we have

A new Kelly survey shows the vast majority of Americans support similar second-chance initiatives:


agree employers should eliminate or reduce blanket-bans that automatically reject job seekers with minor, non-violent criminal offenses.


are more likely to support a business committed to breaking down discriminatory barriers that prevent Americans from finding employment.


say companies should do more to remove discriminatory hiring policies or practices that keep people from being hired or promoted.

The next steps we want to take

Second chances are good for people and good for business. Toyota and Kelly have proven that. We want to inspire others to implement similar programs. That’s at the heart of Toyota’s Social Innovation efforts and that’s why Kelly introduced the Kelly 33 Second Chances Program.

Kelly 33 connects hiring managers with undiscovered talent looking for a second chance. From years of successful delivery in this area, we know the right candidates are waiting—and we know how to deliver them. This is a talent pool that wants to work. They present employers with a golden opportunity to staff up, improve retention and drive profitability.

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