On May 12, Lincoln Trail Workforce Development Board (LTWDB) Workforce Crisis Task Force members and Hardin Memorial Health (HMH) representatives announced during a virtual press conference the completion of the first Expungement Benefit Program case study. Timi-Michelle Tolhurst, an employee at HMH CareFirst Urgent Care Center in Radcliff, is the first participant to complete the expungement process from start to finish.
The pilot Expungement Benefit Program was developed by the Removing Obstacles subcommittee of the LTWDB Workforce Crisis Task Force. Through the program, employers assist employees with the expungement process and associated costs to remove qualifying Class D felony convictions from their records, which can be an impediment to success.
“Many people in our region are fully capable and willing to work, but aren’t for many reasons,” said Julia Springsteen, Removing Obstacles Subcommittee Co-chair. “The Expungement Benefit Program is a conduit to assist these people on their career journey and help solve the skilled worker shortage in our region.”
“By expunging an individual’s record, he or she will not have to disclose the criminal record or any related matter to employers,” Springsteen said.
HMH was the first regional employer to participate in the Expungement Benefit Program. Following one year of employment and outstanding performance, Tolhurst and HMH Human Resources staff began the process to complete the expungement paperwork and filing.
“For people like me who want to put that chapter of their lives behind them, support their families and give back to society, this program is essential,” Tolhurst said. “It has allowed me not just a job, but a career in what I’m trained to do.”
Myra Covault, HMH Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, said hosting the pilot program allowed HMH to experience its success firsthand.
“In working together with the Removing Obstacles subcommittee to develop this program, we not only are increasing the pool of qualified workers, but we also are providing people with a second chance,” Covault said. “We would encourage any employer to develop their own Expungement Benefit program.”
The Removing Obstacles subcommittee is creating a customizable Expungement Benefit Program template to better assist regional employers in developing a program. It will allow them to replicate the pilot program’s success with existing human resource policies and industry-specific needs.
“Anything we can do make the journey to gainful employment easier benefits both employers and job seekers,” said Dr. Donielle Lovell, Removing Obstacles Subcommittee Co-chair and Director of Regional Programming, Associate Professor of Sociology, Western Kentucky University. “This program is a game changer for our region. It will help broaden the pool of applicants for jobs, incentivize retention, and create another pathway for skilled residents to enter the workforce.”