At Target, criminal history check box ends for job applicants

Minnesota-based Target Corp. says it's eliminating, nationally, the box on forms that asks if job applicants have criminal histories.

A new Minnesota law requires private employers in the state to take the criminal history box off applications by the end of the year. Target Vice President Jim Rowader says the company is voluntarily expanding that approach for all U.S. applicants, while at the same time trying to make sure that only the most serious crimes show up on the background reports that hiring managers see.

Rowader says Target is planning to work with a Minneapolis-based group Council on Crime and Justice to increase the company's hiring of ex-offenders.

"We are going to establish a more formal relationship," he said. "We're goong be donating $100,000 to them as a beginning of our relationship."

Rowader made the comments to a north Minneapolis audience of hundreds as part of a panel to address unemployment among ex-offenders that was organized by the advocacy group Take Action Minnesota.

For two years, the group has been urging Target to hire more ex-offenders.