When most ex-offenders contemplate returning home, one of the first things they consider is getting a job. However, according to a Princeton University Study, “Discrimination in Low Wage Labor Markets,” which investigated discrimination against young male minorities and ex-offenders by employers:
- Young white high school graduates were about twice as likely to receive positive responses from New York employers as equally qualified black job seekers;
- Ex-offenders face serious barriers to employment; a criminal record reduced positive responses from employers by about 35 percent for white applicants and 57 percent for black applicants.
- Even without criminal records, black applicants had low rates of positive responses, about the same as the response rate for white applicants with criminal records. Hispanics also faced discrimination by employers, but were preferred relative to blacks.
Source: Devah Pager & Bruce Western – Princeton University Submission to the Population Association of America Annual Meetings, 2005
Against those odds, at City Startup Labs, we take the position that far more benefits can accrue to the individual that chooses self-employment, rather than only pursuing a job. For example, with self-employment one has the skill-set needed to create income not limited to the constraints of a salary (incidentally, those sames skills are preferred, if the individual does consider taking a job). Additionally, self-employment can be chosen for lifestyle, social or strictly financial reasons, among others. Further, many aptitudes gleaned from illicit business activities can be re-engineered into legitimate, less-risky ones (as opposed to entrepreneurial risk) and thus ultimately more rewarding enterprises. Lastly, because entrepreneurial thinking is empowering, exposure to entrepreneurial training will open the doors to far more possibilities.