Businesses rewarded for hiring veterans, ‘second-chance’ workers

City, state to hold free seminar Friday on credits for local employers

COVINGTON, Ky. – It is a workforce “win-win-win” when businesses hire new talent, they receive tax credits for doing so, and the individuals they hire are those who traditionally have faced obstacles to employment (but now are given an opportunity to succeed).

To bring those equations together, the City of Covington's Economic Development Department and the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet are collaborating on a free seminar this Friday aimed at local businesses in need of workers. 

The “Discovering Untapped Talent” program will begin at 2 p.m. at the Hellmann Creative Center at 321 MLK Jr. Blvd./12th St. It will explain how businesses can take advantage of tax credits, grants, and other programs when they solve staffing issues by hiring veterans and what are called “second-chance employees,” meaning individuals with criminal records.

Patrick Duffy, the City’s Business Relations & Expansion specialist, hopes the program can help businesses who have had difficulty keeping full staffing amid the pandemic and the recent instability in the workforce.

“We are aiming this program toward restaurants and bars, but all businesses are welcome,” Duffy said. “We are hoping this could help to solve some of the workforce issues here in Covington.”

In addition to Duffy, presenters at the seminar will include Sarah Allan, the City’s Assistant Economic Development director, and Alisher Burikhanov, executive staff advisor with the Office of Employer & Apprenticeship Services in the Kentucky Career Center within the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.

“With the economy of Kentucky booming and the increased demand for talent, businesses can tap into overlooked populations such as those who have been justice-involved, immigrants, youth, veterans, or individuals with disabilities to diversify their workforce,” Burikhanov said. “We encourage companies to join us and explore the incentives and benefits.”

Tapping into untapped talent

Veterans and second-chance workers represent a deep pool of untapped talent.

The U.S. Department of Justice reports that U.S. prisons and jails each year release more than 650,000 men and women into society who are expected to find work and support themselves and their families. A 2020 report by the UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment found that this population is four to six times more likely to be unemployed than their contemporaries who don’t have a criminal record.

Hiring policies like The Kentucky Fair Chance Bond attempt to lower barriers to employing individuals with a history of incarceration. The bond is part of the Federal Bonding Program, which is a no-cost, zero-deductible $5,000 bond that protects the employer against various forms of theft. The bond’s intention is for the business to have peace of mind while providing the jobseeker an opportunity.

Similarly, for veterans, finding employment is all too often a challenge to successfully transitioning from service to civilian life. According to a report by Military Times, roughly 8.9 million veterans sought full-time jobs in January 2022 – an increase of more than 500,000 in just a month.

  … and untapped benefits

For businesses looking to take advantage of this pool of talent, “Discovering Untapped Talent” will provide information and insight into:

  • Workforce Opportunity Tax Credits:  Tax credits are available to employers who hire individuals from certain target groups that have consistently faced significant barriers to employment. Employers can earn up to $10,000 in federal and state tax credits. For each veteran hired, the federal government gives anywhere from $2,400 to $9,600 for the first year of employment.
  • Registered Apprenticeship: A federal program that is state-run, Registered Apprenticeship helps companies build training pathways for careers, formalize those trainings, and create a roadmap to a given occupation, from traditional skilled trades to those in health care, business, and IT.
  • The Kentucky Essential Skills Certificate (KESC): This is an online training platform that provides realistic self-led instructions for skills in communication, critical thinking, professionalism, and teamwork. An individual with employment barriers could utilize the system to earn certificates of completion or test for a certificate of proficiency.

No registration is required to attend the “Discovering Untapped Talent” program.


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