It is called "second chance employment," a movement to urge employers to consider hiring those with criminal backgrounds.
A panel discussion in Watertown in Wednesday was aimed at getting it started.
It included the state Department of Corrections, the Division of Criminal Justice Services and state and local job agencies.
"And that's what we wanted to do here today is start a dialogue and make employers aware of the whole work force that we have in the area," said Cheryl Mayforth of The WorkPlace.
There are government programs in place, including federal tax credits to encourage employers to hire those with criminal backgrounds.