Cleveland and Cuyahoga County do not ask public sector applicants about their criminal history on written applications. Local employment experts believe that these policies have a positive impact within Ohio, and recently called on private employers to follow and ban the box.
Brandon Chrostowski, founder of Cleveland’s EDWINS Leadership & Restaurant Institute, has helped 330 formerly incarcerated students succeed in finding steady employment, including in the EDWINS restaurant. “If everyone in the private sector said ‘We’re going to ban the box,’ that would be the biggest change for the 250,000 people coming home each year,” Chrostowski said, “Let’s circumvent that and start to educate someone about how an offense isn’t the worst thing in someone’s life, it could be the best thing.” Mr. Chrostowki’s statements are in line with recent findings that Ban the Box policies boost employment prospects for people with conviction histories. Ultimately, Chrostowski and EDWINS seek to change the face of re-entry and instill the skill and confidence necessary to succeed in society.
EDWINS culinary school places around forty students a year in a six month culinary and hospitality training program. It then works with them to secure gainful employment. Following graduation, many students work in EDWINS restaurant. Similar establishments operate in several American cities, including Delancey Street Restaurant in San Francisco, and Colors in New York City.