Theater Talk
Theater Talk
Theater Talk

Building a Fair-Chance Employment Culture

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Building a Fair-Chance Employment Culture

Creating career opportunities for marginalized workers can help us build a more equitable society



One in three Americans has a criminal history—almost as many as have college degrees. But on average, formerly incarcerated individuals take home 40% less pay than their non-marginalized counterparts and are 10x more likely to experience homelessness. Experts estimate that this translates to $370 billion in lost GDP every year. To remedy this, employers need to make space for marginalized workforce members such as the previously incarcerated and the unhoused, according to Amy King, CEO of Pallet. In this talk, King shares insights on how to build a genuine “fair chance” culture within any company, including: 

  • Ensuring equal access to opportunities for all employees by establishing clear pathways to advancement.  
  • Hiring marginalized workers in groups, not individually, so that they can build a peer support system.  
  • Securing executive support for equitable employment initiatives.  
  • Fostering work environments where everyone feels that they belong—a place not only of opportunity, but also of purpose. 

King reinforces that equitable companies create equitable communities—and equitable communities benefit us all. 

About the speaker

Amy King is the owner and CEO of Pallet, an Everett, Washington-based social purpose corporation working to end unsheltered homelessness and give people a fair chance at employment. Pallet prevents and reduces homelessness, both through the rapid-response shelter communities and through inclusive, fair chance hiring practices. King is also the owner of Square Peg Construction company, which builds permanent housing and employs people who are exiting the criminal justice system, addiction, recovery, and homelessness. King started her career in healthcare administration.

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