Ashland’s Correctional Education program partners with Honest Jobs

Published on Dec. 10, 2021

ASHLAND, Ohio – The Ashland University Correctional Education (CE) program is proud to announce a significant enhancement in providing transformative experiences for its students. AU has partnered with Honest Jobs to design and deliver a program that will assist AU CE students in finding employment when they return to society as a citizen.

Workforce reentry is among the most significant challenges for those who undergo a period of incarceration, even for those who have obtained a college degree during a correctional stay. Recent statistics reveal that about 700,000 working-age adults are released from prison on an annual basis, yet 75% are still unemployed a year after release. Studies indicate that recidivism is closely linked to unemployment.

Ashland’s CE program and Honest Jobs are looking to break that cycle. Honest Jobs has developed the nation’s largest fair-chance employment marketplace by helping employers realize the many benefits that come with fair-chance hiring. Those company benefits include diversity, inclusion and significant business and social impact. In the short time since Honest Jobs was founded in 2018, it has worked with 450 companies across the U.S. to connect them with qualified employees. The company has also established strategic partnerships with probation, parole and community organizations, and now its first higher education institution.

“Ashland University is excited to be the first college or university to partner with Honest Jobs. Their mission is to help employers hire individuals impacted by their criminal justice experience. Honest Jobs and their mission align well with AU’s mission of providing transformative higher education tor justice-involved people,” stated Todd Marshall, vice president of correctional education and innovation at Ashland.

Honest Jobs provides an online platform where recently released offenders can view and apply for jobs at employers receptive to hiring individuals who have been justice-involved. The staff at Honest Jobs were once incarcerated themselves, so they understand how to help people in the same situation. For example, the platform also compares a job seeker’s unique criminal history to the required duties for each job and displays a score showing how compatible a job is with the job seeker’s specific background. This reduces rejection and provides a much quicker path to employment for both job seekers and employers.

Ashland’s CE program has grown steadily since first offering instruction to individuals at the Ohio State Reformatory in 1964; there have been more than 1,300 graduates since 2016. The largest such program in the nation, Ashland provides a top-tier education for students within correctional education settings, currently serving more than 4,000 students across 13 states plus Washington, D.C. Students can choose a variety of academic paths, ranging from a two-year associate’s degree in general studies to several bachelor’s degree programs. Upon reentry, the program continues to provide resources and tools to support students, including this burgeoning partnership with Honest Jobs.

Ashland University is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University ( values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.