Employment at Living Wages


To remove criminal record barriers from young peoples’ lives and help more Chicago young adults secure employment at living wages.

This Change Network seeks to increase employment of young adults in the Chicago area. The groups began the work by looking to remediate the employment barriers faced by young adults who have law enforcement records. Without coordinated intervention and assistance, this group of young people faces trouble finding employment and/or beginning on a career path. The group has developed targeted action plans to:

  • Advocate for leveling the playing field for young people with law enforcement records during the employment application process.
  • Limit the number of young people who are arrested by diverting an increased number of them to alternate interventions.
  • Increase the number of young people who have an accurate understanding of what is on their record and what can be done to minimize the impact it has on future employment prospects (through sealing, expungement, etc.).

The group is now looking to broaden its focus to include adopting a Career Pathways framework as an approach to increasing attainment of credentials of economic value for Chicago’s young adults.

This group is co-convened by Cabrini Green Legal Aid and the Chicagoland Workforce Funder Alliance (as the coordinator of the Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs Workforce Development Strategy Group).


Recent accomplishments of this Change Network:

Record relief training:

Held a record relief training for 100+ program directors and front-line staff at workforce development provider organizations.

Began a record relief pilot with community-based organizations:

Thrive will be working with 5 organizations to pilot the use of an online tool that could help more adults with criminal records seeking employment to expunge or seal their records.


In the months ahead, this Change Network will:.

  • Partner to train small businesses on how to comply with the ordinance recently passed by City Council that will strengthen Illinois’ recently passed law regarding hiring individuals with criminal records.


For more information or to become involved, please contact Amrit Mehra.