Kelly® Sets Course to Upend Systemic Barriers to Employment; Urges Partners to Join in Tackling Unjust Barriers

Kelly® Sets Course to Upend Systemic Barriers to Employment; Urges Partners to Join in Tackling Unjust Barriers

Equity@Work Initiative Seeks Equitable and Accessible Labor Market for More People


TROY, Mich., Oct. 16, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Kelly President and CEO Peter Quigley today unveiled Equity@Work, a bold initiative designed to remove systemic – and rarely challenged – barriers to work for millions of Americans. The initiative, which sets aggressive changes to Kelly’s own full-time employee hiring practices, will also broadly address regulatory injustices and outdated biases that rob far too many people of opportunity and upward mobility every day.

Equity@Work sets the course for changes to Kelly’s own hiring practices such as removing salary and criminal history from our internal employment applications,” said Quigley. “As part of this initiative, we are also calling on like-minded leaders and organizations to join forces in addressing workforce barriers. When we stand together against inequities, we can help people reach their full potential.”

Additionally, Kelly has updated its policy around minor drug offenses – specifically marijuana convictions – to allow more people with few or low-level criminal offenses greater opportunity to access work within the company. Kelly is also using technology across its job posting language to facilitate equitable and inclusive terminology.

“We’ve been connecting people to work for nearly 75 years, and today’s announcement is our boldest step yet in ensuring more Americans can access employment that enriches their lives,” said Quigley. “We intend to relentlessly focus on this aspiration. Unfortunately, we still see far too many barriers in our society that make it hard – or even impossible – for some people, particularly underserved and vulnerable populations, to secure meaningful work.”  

Kelly counts many of the Fortune 100 as clients, along with numerous mid-sized corporations, and the company intends to encourage and support its customers – large and small – to make meaningful changes to hiring practices around the globe. Equity@Work includes several collaborations with organizations joining forces to open doors to greater equity, pull millions of people out of poverty, and set new pathways for more people to thrive professionally and personally. Efforts include:

  • Kelly is working on a partnership with the SHRM Foundation to bring workplace inclusion and criminal history barriers to the forefront of HR.

  • Kelly and the Detroit Regional Talent Compact are engaging to work with community, business and academic leaders to improve the region’s access to post high-school educational credentials and reduce equity gaps.
  • Kelly is working in the education field on Pathway to Teaching, a program that provides diverse candidates a pathway to participate in on-the-job credentialing and the opportunity to secure a career in the classroom.

  • Kelly has also benefited from the expertise of Lumina Foundation and their focus on opening equitable pathways to work through education.

“We need a more diverse, equitable and inclusive labor market to grow the economy. That’s why we must come together—now, not later—to break the barriers keeping people from maximizing their potential through the dignity of work,” said Wendi Safstrom, Executive Director, SHRM Foundation. “We applaud Kelly for its commitment to this great purpose of creating a better world by making better workplaces.”

“Kelly is uniquely positioned to play a pivotal role as a catalyst for change by removing unjust barriers to work,” said Quigley. “Our company operates in a space of influence at the very center of supply and demand in our labor market. We identify and recruit talented people, and we connect them to employers with workforce needs. We work on both sides of the equation and that puts us in a unique position to understand, collaborate and act upon the outdated policies and regulatory injustices holding far too many people back.”

Last month, Kelly also joined CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion, the largest CEO-driven business commitment to advance diversity and inclusion within the workplace. Kelly also has a global Inclusion Council and affinity groups for Black, LatinX, LGBTQ, women, and millennial employees. Learn more about Equity@Work.

About Kelly®

Kelly connects talented people to companies in need of their skills in areas including Science, Engineering, Education, Office, Contact Center, Light Industrial, and more. We’re always thinking about what’s next in the evolving world of work, and we help people ditch the script on old ways of thinking and embrace the value of all workstyles in the workplace. We directly employ nearly 440,000 people around the world, and we connect thousands more with work through our global network of talent suppliers and partners in our outsourcing and consulting practice. Visit and let us help with what’s next for you.

Media Contact:  
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VOX Global