Employment & Housing Trust Market

EHTM at a glance


The Challenge: Former offenders often struggle to find employment & housing because employers & landlords are reluctant to take a chance. Employment and housing struggles play overwhelming roles in the pressures that can push even the most determined former offenders off the tracks.

The Support Framework: The Employment & Housing Trust Market will demand robust efforts to reach critical mass. This means changing minds by sharing success stories, as well as working on the ground with business and civic leaders to build a critical mass of engaged employers, landlords and local municipalities.

The Trust Market: The Employment & Housing Trust Market bridges the chasm that separates supportive employers and landlords from quality candidates with problematic pasts.

    • Primary endorsers are individuals or organizations with good standing who know the candidate and offer confidential assessments.
    • Optional sponsors are endorsers with a strong connection to the candidate who both assess the candidate and commit to helping him or her clear hurdles going forward.
    • Secondary endorsers are more prominent community leaders or established EHTM reviewers who vouch for less established voices.
    • Optional Accountability Peer Groups, also found in the Exchange, are small groups of similarly situated people who agree to share a collective reputation within the Trust Market. APGs serve as guarantors and coaches, helping each other over rough spots, and holding each other accountable for delivering as promised. APGs form reputations based on employer feedback, and established APGs can serve as primary or secondary endorsers for new job or housing candidates.
    • The Exchange allows candidates who currently lack a primary sponsor or who need stronger primaries or secondaries to find nonprofits or other qualified endorsers who may step into those roles. Employers and landlords can also look here for promising “in process” candidates.
    • Employer/Landlord Ratings of all endorsements provide valuable feedback for other employers in the form of ratings for endorsers and APGs.

Questions & answers

The EHTM program questions for candidates

No. The EHTM is a trust broker, connecting employers who want to help with people of stature in the community who know a candidate’s strengths and weaknesses. Youturn.org does works to seed an ecosystem of landlords, employers, volunteers, and nonprofits committed to mentoring and support, including life skills coaching. But Youturn.org does not itself operate such programs or vet candidates.

Yes and no. Anyone can join the EHTM, as a candidate or endorser. But critical mass will be needed to make it really run, and this will be generated as we identify and develop new regions, working with community and business leaders.

The preferred route is to find at least one primary endorser who submits the candidate’s profile. Endorser can be ecclesiastical leaders, employers, teachers, neighbors, or family friends—anyone with standing in the community who knows the candidate. An endorser could also be a nonprofit organization.

No. An endorser in good standing may put forward any candidate they choose. But the nature and dates of past convictions are included in the profile. And prospective employers can filter candidates as they see fit.

Yes, as long as they add real value. Candidates should make sure that one or two strong endorsements are not diluted with less valuable ones. More than a small handful may just add clutter.

Yes. Candidates can create personal profiles in a waiting room until they have found a qualified endorser or sponsor. The waiting room is open to employers and endorser, who may step in and interview candidates in the waiting room.

The role of endorsers & sponsors

A prospective endorser submits an online application. This includes a brief personal statement, a CV, and at least three references. References for a new endorser from already established endorsers automatically become secondary endorser for the new primary endorser. Both primary and secondary endorsers may be rated by employers based on their experience with recommended job candidates.

Primary endorsers know the candidate in some capacity and are willing to make recommendations based on interviews and the totality of the record. But they lack the personal connection and commitment of a sponsor.

Sponsors are primary endorsers who have close personal contact with the job candidate. In addition to a strengths and weaknesses report, a sponsor’s review includes the nature and frequency of past and ongoing interaction with the candidate, including commitment to support to help the candidate navigate logistical hurdles and stresses, to help them make the job work out and stay out of trouble.

Secondary endorsers are more prominent community leaders who know (or get to know) and trust primary endorsers or sponsors. Their endorsement lends strength to a primary endorser’s’ credibility. Secondaries are a lynchpin of the system, as their high community profile and/or frequent EHTM engagement allow employers to be more confident about endorsements from lesser known figures.

No. But having secondaries will strengthen the primary endorser’s impact. This is most critical when the primary has a low key community or career profile.

This depends on the strength of the primary endorser’s profile. Someone with high standing in the community will need few if any. Candidates and primary endorsers should make sure that the secondary endorsements are strong. More than a small handful may create more noise than signal.

Only registered employers and landlords can see reviews, and they can only see those of current candidates who meet their search criteria. Reviews are written in confidence, and employers and landlords agree to respect those confidences as a condition of participation. Breaching that agreement will be grounds for removal from the program.

It is actually in the candidate’s interest to not see the review, as this provides assurance to employers that the endorser can speak frankly. It is assumed that an endorser will not agree to offer a review unless he views the candidate as a net positive. But there will often be nuances that need to be communicated, weaknesses as well as strengths, and the endorser must be free to do so in confidence.

See FAQs questions at the end of the employer section.

How employers get info and give feedback

Employers are motivated to join the EHTM initially through social influence from peers and community leaders. They will also quickly learn that great employees can be found in the EHTM, and many will find some tax incentives along the way. The mission of Youturn.org is to “flip the stigma,” which means, to make hiring quality ex-offenders something brag about. To get to that point, we will build the employer network through peer-to-peer networking and persuasion.

Employers fill out a simple online form that asks for some basic information about the company, its size and sector, and the kinds of jobs they are looking to fill. A Youturn.org volunteer will call or email the company to confirm. Employers will also be encouraged to sign the Employer Fair Hiring Pledge, but that is not required.

First consider the profiles of a candidate’s sponsors or primary endorsers, then look at the strength and number of secondary endorsers. Check for any experience rating on the endorsers. If doubts remain, look to see if a quality sponsor has expressed strong commitment to the job candidate.

Employers can use the following filters:

  • types of past offenses
  • the candidates’ skills & job interests
  • endorser ratings of the candidate
  • number and quality of secondary endorsers
  • commitment level from sponsors
  • endorsers’ feedback ratings
Yes. Employers may offer positive or negative feedback to primary and secondary endorsers and sponsors, both on a numerical scale and with comments. Feedback will be especially important with secondary endorsers, who are more likely to be “frequent flyers” and will want to be careful which primary endorsers they vouch for.
If a review was clearly and badly in error, an employer may make a report to the moderators, who will investigate. Secondary endorsers will also be notified to allow them to make appropriate corrections in their vetting. If appropriate, the moderators may offer a warning or remove offenders from the system.


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