Harley-Davidson bans the box

Move opens job opportunities to ex-offenders

If people don’t think they have a shot at a career, they are unlikely to try for one.

But with one small yet impactful maneuver, Harley-Davidson Inc.’s Springettsbury Township plant is working to defeat that first shadow of doubt in a prospective candidate.

Recently, the company banned the box from its application process and will now consider ex-offenders as job candidates.

“A guy that feels defeated before he starts, ain’t leaving the house,” said Terry Davis, owner and CEO of Keystone Correctional Services Inc. in West Hanover Township, Dauphin County. “Banning the box gets people in the front door.”

Keystone helps recently released men find jobs. Often, Davis says, the men have been passed over as potential job candidates purely because of the checked box, which indicates a criminal record.

Getting rid of the box is a positive step toward giving people a chance, he said. “It’s a good start to get people to be at least looked at to determine whether they’re a good risk or not.”

To complement the banning of the box, the York County Economic Alliance is holding a hiring informational session for Harley-Davidson tonight at the Crispus Attucks gymnasium at 605 S. Duke St. in York from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

According to a press release from the the alliance, Harley-Davidson is expanding its production lines and creating hundreds of jobs within the next year. The company is expecting to fill between 125 and 150 positions with the assembly team over the next two months, according to Kevin Schreiber, president and CEO of York County Economic Alliance. He expects Harley to fill 450 positions overall by next year.

Harley-Davidson was not available as of presstime for comment.

Last year, Harley-Davidson announced it would be cutting 118 jobs from the Springettsbury plant and sending them to Kansas City along with its Cruiser line of motorcycles, leaving the plant with 800 factory employees. But earlier this year, the company said it would be moving manufacturing operations at its Kansas City plant into the company’s Springettsbury Township facility.

Davis noted that while banning the box is a big benefit to ex-offender candidates, it doesn’t ensure them a job.

“Ex-offenders still need to market themselves as a candidate afterwards, which is where we come in,” he said.


Emily Thurlow
​Emily Thurlow covers York County​ for the Central Penn Business Journal. Have a tip? Drop her a line at ethurlow@cpbj.com.

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