Improving employability of returning citizens aids neighborhood revitalization, say Cleveland Fed researchers

Returning citizens face significant employment challenges. Improving their employability could provide a needed boost to the economic conditions in our poorest neighborhoods, where returning citizens are concentrated, say Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland researchers Emre Ergungor and Nelson Oliver.

Returning citizens often lack the skills that are required in the labor market such as education, work experience, and soft skills like reliability and punctuality, say the researchers. Other barriers to employment for returning citizens include substance abuse problems; higher rates of mental and physical illness than the general population; and “collateral sanctions,” i.e., bans on engaging in certain activities, such as obtaining a driver’s license or operating a barber shop.

Studies have shown that training and motivational interventions may improve labor market outcomes for returning citizens, say Ergunor and Oliver, who cite examples of programs at the federal, state, and local levels that are helping to address barriers or are generating employment opportunities for returning citizens.

Read The Employability of Returning Citizens Is Key to Neighborhood Revitalization