- Goodwill Industries International and Accenture are launching a virtual reality tool that allows job seekers with criminal backgrounds to practice their interviewing skills, interact with human resource professionals and hear from workers who have found employment after incarceration, the organizations announced April 7.
- Through the project, called Project Overcome, job seekers will learn to “speak comfortably about their incarceration” and use up-to-date technologies.
- Ten nonprofit Goodwill organizations around the U.S. will implement the project.
A handful of stakeholders are attempting to address the difficulties job seekers with criminal backgrounds face. State and local governments are enacting legislation that implements stronger protections for such job seekers. Illinois, for instance, recently passed a law that forbids employers from taking adverse actions against job seekers and workers based on past criminal activity, unless certain exceptions apply.
Employers, too, have launched efforts to mitigate challenges in the hiring process. The Body Shop nixed background checks and drug screenings from its application process in February 2020, dubbing its strategy an “open hiring” model. Other employers have taken a more involved approach. Arizona-based demand generation services provider Televerde has cultivated strong ties with incarcerated and formerly incarcerated populations.
Separately, Goodwill and Accenture’s tool represents another example of how VR is being used to train both current and potential workers. Bank of America announced plans, for instance, to offer virtual reality training to employees across the U.S. in March. The training will focus on several functions, the bank previously told HR Dive, offering simulations that train workers on its account opening and servicing systems. XPO Logistics announced in January that it experienced positive outcomes from its virtual reality training that included Oculus headsets aimed “to train cross-dock workers in the optimal method of loading freight for delivery.”