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From second chance to fair chance: Why we're changing our language

October 7, 2022

A Pallet manufacturing specialist holds up an aluminum door frame for a shelter in the factory.

Language is ever-evolving. As society changes and grows, the words we use or stop using reflect who we are. At Pallet, we continually evaluate whether we're using inclusive, destigmatizing language. We need to speak and operate in a way that mirrors our values. 
Since our inception in 2016, we've identified ourselves as a second chance employer. At the time, it was a commonly used term to describe companies like us that aimed to build a nontraditional workforce. We focused on an applicant's potential, not their past. As a result of this decision, it helped us design and manufacture shelter solutions firmly rooted in lived experience. But the term second chance employment doesn't fit. It implies everyone has access to the same opportunities in life and squandered their first chance. 
"Second chance employer doesn't reflect the true circumstances of our team. For most of our folks, this is their first chance, or it could also be their third and fourth chance," Pallet CEO Amy King shared. "And the connotation is that we're doing them a favor by giving them another chance. And that's not the case." 
The term can also be interpreted as negatively judging someone's past. That's not the case at Pallet, so we've decided to describe ourselves as a fair chance employer. The term is inclusive and recognizes that everyone is capable. Fair chance hiring reduces recidivism and strengthens our community. 
"We're making this change in language to show we welcome everyone. We don't care what your background is," added King. "It doesn't single out the justice-involved population either, and it helps us to have a broader reach to people from any background anywhere." 
Diversified hiring practices are vital to our success and help us empower people who can process and problem-solve with compassion, sensitivity, and creativity. 

J.J. found purposeful work at Pallet 

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