Maine is in desperate need of workers.
It's no secret that just about every business in Maine is hiring right now. Since things have been opening back up, almost everyone has found themselves short-handed rolling into the busiest season of the year here in Maine. And this year, it's not likely to stop when summer ends.
The leaf peepers will be here, some cruise ships may dock in our various ports, and folks will just be looking to come here at a time that they would normally hope to find the state a little less crowded. But I predict that's not going to be the case this year. I bet it stays semi-crazy right up until the snow flies.
There's a new law in town that's going to change things.
Recently, Gov. Mills signed a new law that will take effect in October. Essentially, this new law states that potential employers will not be able to ask about the criminal background of folks until they've been made a conditional offer of employment. In other words, your criminal history won't be part of the initial application process.
This will likely make a lot of folks apply for jobs that they may not have before. There are tons of folks out there who've maybe had the most minor run-in with the law years ago. Maybe some employers will hire folks on merit, and not automatically disqualify them for their background.
But what about more serious criminals?
They won't be able to avoid this process altogether. Businesses can still make a background check part of the final process before hiring, but now, no one can be immediately turned away. If you've been convicted of serious crimes, it may still likely come out in the hiring process.
In addition, questions can only be asked about convictions, not about previous arrests or charges. 14 other states have adopted similar policies, so we're by no means the first to get on board with this, according to TheCenterSquare.com.
So, how will this help?
By doing this, there will be a greater pool of applicants, and Maine needs this right now to fill empty jobs in a time where they're so crucial to our economy. James Myall, a policy director at the Maine Center for Economic Policy, said this:
Mainers’ past mistakes should not continue to damage their chances of employment and economic prosperity for the rest of their lives. These inquiries create new barriers to opportunity for Mainers who have served their time and are trying to re-enter society in one of the most central ways: by getting a job and earning an income.