What is a CQE, Certificate of Qualification for Employment?

Columbus Chamber
The Columbus Chamber provides connections, resources and solutions that help small businesses and Fortune 500 enterprises grow Central Ohio's economy.

Your next employee could have a CQE, but what is a CQE? This question was answered during a morning of special panels that discussed the benefits of getting a CQE and the benefits of hiring an employee with a CQE.

A CQE, Certificate of Qualification for Employment, is a certificate an individual with a criminal background may obtain that grants them relief from mandatory restrictions they could face when seeking employment. The certificate allows employers to evaluate individuals based on their ability to do the job, rather than on their criminal record.

There are stereotypes around prisons and offenders, panelists mentioned, but many offenders spend their time reading, writing, and teachingthemselves so they are prepared upon release. These are people who aretrying to transition because they want to do something with their lives, panelists said.

In Ohio, at least 1.92 million people, or one in six, have a misdemeanor or felony conviction preventing them to seek employment in many industries.

The CQE allows employers to confront their workforce demands and open their doors to a new pool of hires. One of the biggest benefits to employers is the legal protection a CQE provides from negligent hiring lawsuits.

The panels featured speakers from the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, the Ohio Department of Transportation, Red Zone andmore. Two CQE holders shared their success stories and the barriers theyfaced before receiving the certificate. One holder shared that the CQE allowed her to receive her bachelor’s degree and she plans to go back to school for her master’s in May.

Currently, there are almost 6,000 CQE applicants in different statuses in the system. Employers can find a list of approved CQE holders on the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction’s website.

For more information on CQEs, please visit drc.ohio.gov/cqe.