News Release

US Department of Labor awards $725K to help at-risk workers overcome barriers to employment

Grants encourage employers to help workers to secure living wage jobs

WASHINGTON, DC The U.S. Department of Labor today announced the award of $725,000 in grants to seven states and territories and the District of Columbia to expand their fidelity bonding programs, which support employers that hire workers considered “at-risk” due to prior involvement in the criminal justice system, as well as those in recovery for substance abuse. These workers often face barriers in their attempts to return to the workforce.

Created by the department in 1966 and administered by its Employment and Training Administration, the Federal Bonding Program allows states to issue free-of-charge fidelity bonds to employers. The program provides employers with a bond of no less than $5,000 for each eligible new hire, and allows issuance of up to $25,000 in bonds for each individual, as incentives for employers to hire these applicants. Bonds last for at least six months and protect employers against losses the bonded employee’s fraudulent or dishonest acts might cause.

“Ideally, an employer will never need to exercise a fidelity bond. Since its start in 1966, employers have exercised less than 1 percent of bonds in the Federal Bonding Program and, in the last year, not one employer has used these bonds to cover losses,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training Suzi LeVine. “The Fidelity Bonding Demonstration Grants we’ve awarded today are the latest in a series of funding announcements we’ve made to support increasing equity in the labor market. They help individuals with prior criminal convictions overcome biases and other barriers to finding employment, and get the second chance they deserve.”

The recipients of Fidelity Bonding Demonstration Grants are as follows:

Applicant

City

State

Award

District of Columbia Department of Employment Services

Washington, DC

DC

$100,000

Indiana Department of Workforce Development

Indianapolis

IN

$100,000

State of Hawaii Department of Labor and Industrial Relations

Honolulu

HI

$25,000

Minnesota Department of Employment & Training

Saint Paul

MN

$100,000

New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development

Trenton

NJ

$100,000

One Stop Career Center of Puerto Rico Inc.

San Juan

PR

$100,000

South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation

Pierre

SD

$100,000

Workforce West Virginia

Charleston

WV

$100,000

To date, the Federal Bonding Program has supported more than 52,000 job placements. In 2020, employers bonded 458 participants, mainly as employees in private for-profit and non-profit companies in construction, manufacturing, health care and retail. Learn more about assisting those formerly involved in the criminal justice system to find employment.

Agency
Employment and Training Administration
Date
April 7, 2021
Release Number
21-598-NAT
Contact: Grant Vaught
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