JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The United States’ ongoing labor shortage is bad for employers but presents an opportunity for workers who often could not find jobs in rosier economic times: ex-prisoners.

Special training programs in Mississippi and other states are now trying to fill some of the 11.3 million open jobs in the U.S. through “second-chance hiring” — the practice of employing people with a criminal record. Studies have shown that stable jobs are a major factor in reducing recidivism.

In a 2021 survey, 53% of human resource professionals said they would be willing to hire people with criminal records — up from just 37% in 2018.