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The Good News about Men Who Don't Work

April 7, 2024

In 1953, 98% of men were either working or looking for work. Today, a study says that one third of men of working age are spending most their time watching television. Meanwhile, employers in the U.S. are about 8.8 million workers short. But the good news is, this situation has opened a wide door of opportunity to people who are reentering society after incarceration.

The Good News About

Men Who Don't Work

In 1953, 98% of men between 25 and 54 years old had a job or were looking for one, but that number has declined every year. According to a recent survey there are more than 8.8 million unfilled manufacturing jobs in America, and around 100,00 in Indiana. In fact, one third of American men of prime working age are not working or even looking for work. Back in 2016 Brookings Institute studied the phenomenon—did surveys—and the responses may surprise you.

The majority surveyed reported that these men were not caring for children, or cleaning/maintaining their homes. In general they reported spending most of their time watching television. It was thought that their wives must be working. In fact, only about 25% reported having a working spouse, meanwhile that number and the number of wives in general for this group is dwindling. Meanwhile companies throughout the nation have more jobs than people to fill them.

But every cloud has a silver lining. 

What has been a problem for employers, has opened up a wide door of opportunity for people with a criminal record. Many companies that once did not offer jobs to "ex-offenders" are now taking a second look and have found that there's gold in those hills. They have realized that people with a criminal record (one in three people in the U.S.) can and do make excellent employees. (Note the study that reported the employment performance of people with criminal records were found to be statistically equal with employees who did not have a record.) Who knew?

We at 2nd Chance Indiana knew, and began building a network of employer-partners five years ago—employers who agreed not only to hire people with a criminal record, but would pay them a living wage, equal to those without a record. They agreed to allow for things required by the court, like intermittent drug testing, which would take time out of a work day, or meetings with parole officers. Hey, a good employee is worth it!
April is Second Chance Month, a month set aside across the U.S. to recognize the importance of helping reentrants to a better life by giving a hand up. 
As for the reentrant: A good job with a living wage provides a firm foundation upon which to re-build a successful life and a united family. 
As for the children of reentrants: A reliable income improves health and education outcomes and provides a "map" of employment for generations to come. 
And as for the taxpayers: a good job found quickly after reentry has been shown to drive recidivism down 90%

So here's to all the employers, the support agencies, the mentors and teachers. Here's to everyone who helps others on the upward way to a happy and successful life. We appreciate you!

Celebrating Second Chance Month, and all that it means,


Contact Information

2nd Chance Indiana
241 West 38th Street, Indianapolis, IN 46208


Our Mission

Our mission is to reduce recidivism and rebuild lives through the dignity of work.