There is dignity in work and being able to provide for yourself and your family. But, for the nearly two million Ohioans who have criminal records, opportunities are limited. Too many jobs and occupational licenses are not available to Ohioans who have a record in their past—no matter how long ago it occurred. The impact of criminal records on job and housing opportunities falls disproportionately on low-income people and communities of color and perpetuates the cycle of poverty.
One of OPLC’s top priorities is removing barriers to employment. We support expanding record sealing and expungement, creating tools—like Certificates of Qualification for Employment—that help potential employees and employers, and removing mandatory restrictions for occupational licensing.
Work in Action: In 2012, Ohio created tool called a Certificate of Qualification for Employment or CQE.
CQEs provide relief from mandatory restrictions that persons with criminal records face when seeking employment or licensure in certain fields. CQEs also provide immunity to employers from negligent-hiring lawsuits. OPLC has worked to simplify the CQE application and continues to advocate for improvements including a filing fee cap of $50. In addition, OPLC is working to educate employers. More than 1,100 Ohioans have used CQEs to help them find employment.