Koch Industries joins the “Ban The Box” hiring movement

Koch Industries (KSN File Photo)

WICHITA, Kansas — In an effort to offer job applicants a “fair hiring process,” Wichita-based Koch Industries, Inc. has eliminated criminal history questions from its job application.

Koch Industries reportedly dropped the questions from its applications in March.

It is part of a larger movement, across the country, called “Ban the Box.”

The box refers to the ‘check box’ provided for the question: “Have you ever been convicted of a felony?”

KSN sat down with one local, ex-felon, David Gilkey, who says it’s time to do away with the questions.

“I’ve been carrying around ten felonies for a long time, and it has effected me getting jobs,” explained Gilkey.

David and Lynn Gilkey

David Gilkey tells KSN News he was addicted to crack for 16 years. He was quick to admit to his criminal past, but says that his criminal past does not define him.

He changed his life in 2000, after law enforcement raided his house.

“My wife was in one car and I was in the other and, believe it or not, we were saying the same prayer. We just said, ‘God, if you give us life again, we’ll change our life and dedicate our life working with young people,’ and we haven’t looked back since,” said Gilkey.

After serving his time and paying his dues to society, he became a changed man.

However, his criminal past often interfered with his ability to obtain and then keep a job.

“You tell me I need to be productive,” said Gilkey. “I need to take care of my family and be the father and the man I’m supposed to be, but, how can I do it if I can’t even get a job? It’s all because of that box.”

Gilkey says it’s about giving people second chances.

“That’s all people want is a chance, you know, and we have to give people second chances.”

David Gilkey, an ex-felon, now runs Rise Up For Youth, Inc.
David Gilkey, an ex-felon, now runs Rise Up For Youth, Inc.

David Gilkey now spends his days as the director/coordinator for Rise Up For Youth, Inc. It is a relatively new mentoring program in Wichita for at-risk youth.

His wife, Lynn, is the executive director for the organization.

In April 2015, after a little more than a year in operation, Koch Industries, Inc. donated $25,000 to Rise Up For Youth, Inc.

Read the press release here

It is stories like the Gilkey’s, representatives with Koch tell KSN, that are evidence that people can chance and can make a positive impact on our local community.

According to the organization’s publicly distributed information online,

Rise Up For Youth, Inc. was founded in February 2014 by David and Lynn Gilkey and runs two mentoring programs, Do You Want To Live Or Die? and Caring Ladies Assisting Students to Succeed, designed for young women. Rise Up For Youth, Inc. seeks to inspire and motivate future generations to unlock their full potential through education, mentoring and empowerment. Rise Up For Youth, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) organization. For more information or to support this organization, contact Rise Up For Youth, Inc. at (316) 440-9232.

KSN sat down with Mark V. Holden, the Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary for the legal department at Koch Industries, Inc. to learn more about the company’s new policy. He said, “People should get another chance.”

Concerning David Gilkey, Holden said he is proof of, “what people can do, what individuals can do to redeem themselves if they’re given a second chance, and turn their lives around and have a positive impact on so many people.”

Further, he said, “We think it’s important to look at individuals based on what they bring to the table currently. To the extent we can give people a second chance who are willing to work hard and otherwise, capable and qualified, we’ll try to do it.”

For more information about Koch Industries, visit their website here.

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