More and more companies are requiring job applicants to take a pre-employment drug test — and more and more individuals are failing, according to a New York Times article published this May. This is due in part to an increase in the use of drugs such as marijuana, which is becoming legal in more areas of the country, or opioid drugs, which have swept the nation as an epidemic.
According to U.S. Department of Justice, more than 600,000 individuals return to American neighborhoods after serving time in federal and state prisons, and another 11.4 million cycle through local jails. One of the main challenges these individuals face in their reentry to society is finding employment; many businesses are reluctant to hire former offenders.
About a third of Cincinnati residents and almost half of the city's children are living in poverty, according to the U.S. Census American Community Survey and WCPO. This number has gone up significantly in the last five years and is double that of national rates.
Over the last several years education and business leaders have been increasing Science, Technology, Engineering and Math programs, or STEM, in schools. Technical skills will be required in 80% of all jobs in the next decade.
A recent survey found that only 34% of adults with intellectual disabilities in the United States are employed. That includes several thousand individuals in Greater Cincinnati. For years, training centers or sheltered workshops have provided work opportunities for adults with disabilities. But there is a current push in many states to close these centers and direct individuals towards community-based employment. But incorporating people with intellectual disabilities into the general workforce is a challenge.
Several states, including Ohio, have recently passed or are considering legislation to prevent employers from asking if a job seeker has been convicted of a felony on an initial application form. Proponents of such legislation say the question discriminates against the more than 92 million people in the United States who have an arrest record.
At the same time that thousands of people in the tri-state are unemployed or under-employed, many local companies are unable to find enough skilled workers to meet their demands. An upcoming event at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College will showcase the school’s programs and degrees that train students with the skills they need to find a job in today’s economy.