This news probably won’t end up in a movie deal starring Leo DiCaprio, but it’s certainly worth sharing here. In addition to being the original “Wolf of Wall Street,” a character popularized in the 2013 film by Martin Scorsese, Richard Bronson is now the CEO of a relatively new job board called 70MillionJobs. Inspired by 70 million Americans who have criminal records, the site’s mission is to help employ as many of them as possible.
Bronson’s own experience in jail served as motivation to help others coming out of prison. “I came out essentially destitute, with no home, no money, no job, no prospects no future,” he said in a release. “Everywhere I turned, I found doors slamming in my face.”
The website, which looks similar to most job sites, aims to match former perps with employers in need of workers. Bronson says people with criminal records tend to make great employees, because they work extra hard because they don’t take their jobs for granted.
He may be onto something. The company was recently accepted into Y Combinator, a startup accelerator, and pitched investors in August at the firm’s demo day. To date, users have applied for almost 4,000 jobs on the platform so far. A deal with Uber is even in the works, as the San Francisco-based ride-hailing service is exploring 70MillionJobs to find new drivers, and may eventually use the platform to fill its office jobs as well, according to Bronson in a recent interview.
Government support doesn’t hurt either. Nearly 80 percent of former inmates end up back in jail within five years of being released, according to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics. The fact many can’t nail down employment is a factor. So, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Federal Bonding Program is currently in place to insure at-risk employees, which is in place the first six months of employment, at no-cost to the employee or employer. Additionally, significant federal tax credits exist.
The job board links to companies already involved with former president Barack Obama’s Fair Chance business pledge for companies who vow to remove barriers to former convicts. The list of employers taking the pledge include American Airlines, Target, and even industry vendor Glassdoor.
“Our applicants have, on average, little experience negotiating the path to traditional employment,” Bronson told Forbes in April. “Their resumes are often tragically barren of ‘legitimate’ experience. So we’re creating a platform for them to create video resumes, which will humanize them beyond a line on an arrest report, and show employers that these folks can be charming, smart, personable and potentially a real asset.”
Pricing starts at $99 for a single job posting for 30 days and goes up to $799 for featured placement. Searching the resume database is priced at $199 for 30 days. Jobs can be posted anonymously for companies concerned about associating their brand with incarceration. The site also has a screening feature to filter candidates, and a simple applicant tracking system is available for employers.