CHARLOTTE (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — The Great Resignation is forcing some companies to turn to a pool of workers that have long been overlooked.

Businesses across the country are feeling the effects of staffing shortages, but one population is ready to take the job.

“The probability of their re-arrest really hinges on their ability to find employment,” Center for Community Transitions Executive Director Patrice Funderburg said.

The Center for Community Transitions helps individuals with criminal records integrate back into the real world.  For many, that means finding a good paying job with an opportunity for growth.

“Our intention is to partner with businesses not only from a consulting standpoint to make sure that they have the right kinds of processes set up so that folks that have criminal records or history of criminal convictions can be just as successful as someone who doesn’t,” Funderburg said.

The Charlotte nonprofit said more industries are becoming open to the idea, especially those in need of staff.

“I think it is almost ridiculous not to at least consider them again due to the worker shortage,” GenPak Corporate recruiting manager Patrick Rorie said.

GenPak, a Charlotte manufacturing company, saw an explosion of sales during the pandemic.

“Take-out, delivery, pick-up, grocery store visits have all increased and we don’t see that changing in the next probably 10 years in our latest estimate,” Rorie said.

To expand and keep up with the demand, it opened applications to those with criminal records. Since May 2020, the company said it has hired about 50 workers through CCT’s program.

“Sometimes we have had some of our team members at the early going come back to us and say, ‘what are y’all doing now, who are you employing?’ And we are like, ‘we are employment people to help you do your job.”