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City of Aiken removes criminal history from job applications

The City of Aiken is the latest South Carolina city to join the "Ban the Box" initiative
Credit: Ban the Box

AIKEN, S.C. — This week, the City of Aiken became the latest South Carolina city to join the “Ban the Box” initiative.

The campaign calls for cities and counties to remove criminal history from job applications, giving formerly incarcerated people a better chance at getting a job.

Lester Young with Just Leadership USA advocates for “Ban the Box” across South Carolina. Columbia was the first South Carolina city to pass this ordinance last year.

Young says Irmo 'banned the box' a few months ago, now Aiken is the latest to join.

“Removing that question, ‘have you been convicted of a felony?’ That now will allow individuals to proceed to the second level or the second stage of an interview process.” Young said, “70% of people who apply for jobs who have felony convictions, the chances are, they never really make it to the second round. If they do get it, they end up getting jobs that only pay minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.” 

Young hopes a “Ban the Box” ordinance will eventually be passed statewide.