President Trump and reality TV star Kim Kardashian West announced programs aimed at helping former prisoners become gainfully employed.
At an event in the East Room of the White House on Thursday afternoon, the president said his administration was taking steps to encourage businesses to hire former inmates.
“The unemployment rate for former inmates is up to five times higher than the national average. My administration has set an ambitious goal: We want to cut the unemployment rate for these individuals to single digits within five years. And we think there’s a really good chance of doing it,” said Trump.
“Second chance hiring is about safer communities, a stronger workforce, and a thriving economy. We believe in the dignity of work and the pride of a paycheck.”
Trump went on to tout various efforts being launched by the government to help former inmates get jobs. They included the Federal Bureau of Prisons working with employers to help inmates line up a job when they are released, the Labor Department awarding $2 million in “fidelity bonds” to states, which underwrite businesses who hire ex-prisoners, and expanding the Second Chance Pell Grant Pilot Program to allow people to use prison time to take college-level classes.
“Our administration is also working to allow rehabilitated citizens with a criminal record to apply for both federal government jobs and affordable housing — something that we were unable to do before,” added Trump.
At the event, Kardashian West announced the creation of a rideshare partnership aimed at helping former inmates afford transportation to and from job interviews and places of employment.
“I’m so happy to announce today that we have a rideshare partnership where formerly incarcerated people will be gifted gift cards so that they can get rides to and from job interviews, to and from jobs, family members, and that is so important — so needed,” she explained.
“I think the ultimate goal is everyone wants the community to be safe. And the more opportunity that we have and that they have, and the support that we help give them, the safer everyone will be.”
On her Twitter account, the star of “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” noted that one of the partners in the program was the Lyft company.
“Proud to partner on this initiative with @Lyft, a company with a history of taking bold action to do what’s right for our community. Thank you for providing ride share credits to formally incarcerated people when they come home,” tweeted Kardashian West on Thursday.
In May 2018, Trump and Kardashian West met to discuss prison reform, including among other topics a request to the president to secure pardons for a few people behind bars.