Center for Justice and Economic Advancement

At a Glance

People with criminal records face barriers to education and employment that limit their opportunities for a lifetime. They deserve a fair chance to move beyond their mistakes and achieve economic advancement. Through the Center for Justice and Economic Advancement, JFF will work to eliminate barriers that have prevented them from having meaningful opportunities to transform their lives and achieve economic advancement.





Areas of Work
  • Ensuring Equity in Advancement
  • Meeting Employer Needs
  • Preparing for the Future of Work
Experts Involved
In progress

Our Work

  • We work with partners to scale practices and policies that promote economic advancement for people with criminal records.
  • We impact economic advancement for people with records by eliminating policy barriers and creating conditions that promote hiring and access to education and credentialing programs.
  • We work to influence public perceptions and give a platform for people impacted by convictions to draw on their inner strengths and skills to re-engage with their communities and achieve career success.
  • We work with employers, intermediaries, government agencies, post-secondary educational institutions, community-based organizations, and more to develop, scale, and promote effective programs and frameworks to make fair chance hiring the expectation, not the exception.

About Us

The Jobs for the Future Center for Justice and Economic Advancement (CJEA) leads JFF’s efforts to eliminate barriers to economic mobility for people with criminal records and create opportunities that give them a fair chance to pursue careers that match their talents, skills, and aspirations.

Launched with funding from Blue Meridian Partners’ Justice and Mobility Fund, the Center works with employers to create good jobs that lead to career opportunities for millions of people, especially Black and Latinx individuals who are disproportionately affected by incarceration.

The Center drives equity and opportunity through four levers of focus:

All Levers

Through these levers, the Center works with partners—especially individuals who have personal experience and expertise navigating the impact of the criminal system—to expand access to education and employment opportunities by:

  • Mobilizing employers to adopt equitable and inclusive hiring practices, with a particular focus on racial equity
  • Providing technical assistance and capacity-building support for promising models that equip people for high-quality jobs and navigating their own career trajectory
  • Advocating for policy and systems change
  • Raising awareness of this complex challenge to change the narrative about people with records
  • Researching to identify and spread transformative solutions

About Fair Chance Hiring

More than 70 million Americans have a conviction or arrest record that prevents them from gaining employment and economic advancement. Fair chance hiring is built on the principle that job candidates be evaluated on their skills and competencies, not their past convictions.

When people with records have access to economic opportunities, they perform the same or better than their peers and have higher retention rates. Employers who institute fair chance hiring practices gain a competitive advantage from expanding their talent pool, having a diverse and inclusive workplace, and increasing retention rates.

Levers of Change

All Levers

Fair Chance Employer Training Program

On December 8, 2022, JFF announced that it had acquired the nationally-respected Second Chance Hiring program from Dave’s Killer Bread Foundation. The program, inspired by Dave’s Killer Bread co-founder Dave Dahl’s personal experiences with incarceration, provides training to and produces resources for employers on how to adopt and implement fair chance hiring.

JFF's Center for Justice & Economic Advancement is excited to continue to offer this program to mobilize the business community. If you are an employer who is interested in participating in the program or would like to learn more, please contact us at

Contact Us

The Center for Justice and Economic Advancement is continually building partnerships with employers, intermediaries, and other stakeholders. If you’d like to be part of the change to bring economic mobility and advancement to people with records, reach out to us.