Most every person in our community has a stain or two in their past. Some inappropriate acts also are illegal and therefore harder to live down.

When a public records search turns up a criminal history, particularly a felony conviction, it can get in the way of career goals.

In a land of second, third and even fourth chances, people should be able to reform and start again. But after serving their sentence, may still are haunted by their past.

Hoping to help local businesses and industries develop a larger pool of qualified applicants, the Lin­coln Trail Workforce Develop­ment Board tackled this issue through the Removing Obstacles subcommitte of its Workforce Crisis Task Force.

The result was creation of an Expungement Benefit Program.

Through the program, employers will assist people through the expungement process and associated costs to remove qualifying Class D felony convictions from their records, which can be an impediment to success.

A pilot program already has been proven to work and a template developed will guide employers through the process.

Julia Springsteen, Removing Obstacles Sub­com­mittee co-chairwoman, said by expunging an individual’s record, the person would not have to disclose the criminal record or any related matter to employers.

Springsteen describes it as “a conduit to assist these people on their career journey and help solve the skilled worker shortage in our region” Those are clear reasons to embrace it. The program solves a real dilemma for individuals and addresses a significant community need for a larger pool of skilled workers.

“This program is a game changer for our region,” said Dr. Donielle Lovell, Removing Obsta­cles Subcommittee co- chairwoman and director of regional programming and associate professor of sociology at Western Kentucky University. “It will help broaden the pool of applicants for jobs, incentivize retention and create another pathway for skilled residents to enter the workforce.”

It’s the definition of a win-win scenario.

This editorial represents a consensus of The News-Enterprise editorial board.

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