High unemployment calls for tattoo-removal program

by HCA30 Sep 2013

Removing Barriers, a job readiness and job training program to tackle high unemployment rates, has sprung up in San Pablo, California. A partnership between The San Pablo Economic Development (SPED) Corporation, the City of San Pablo and New Skin Adult Tattoo Removal, the program offers training and financial responsibility workshops, as well as tattoo removal.

“The program includes removal of visible tattoos that act as barriers to an individual’s safety, employability, community re-entry and opportunity,” the SPED’s website states.

The Job Readiness initiative is a 14-week program; however, participants can opt simply for the tattoo removal, with San Pablo residents receiving a discount.

The unemployment rate of San Pablo ‘is “stubbornly high”, sitting at 14.4%, the Contra Costa Times (CCT) reported.

"We truly want to shift the needle in terms of unemployment and underemployment," Leslay Choy, general manager of SPED, said. "We are determined that people think of San Pablo as a place with a highly capable work force."

Regardless of morality, discrimination against tattooed job-seekers is a reality that can be disheartening to many. Fiona Lam, a 22-year-old participant of the program, stated her neck tattoo was damaging her employability. "I'm really excited about the future for the first time," she added, having recently found employment since the removal.

Those who complete the job-training program are reimbursed for half of the tattoo removal costs once complete.

The San Pablo initiative comes about soon after the US Army announced new regulations regarding tattoos, banning tattoos on the forearm, below the knee or above the neckline <there’s such limited Soldiers will also be banned from sporting racist, sexist or extremist tattoos completely.

Further reading:

Are you thinking of the ink? Tattoos impacting hires

Looks-based discrimination rampant

Air NZ accused of tattoo ‘double standard’

Should the painful and arduous task of tattoo removal be necessary in landing a position, or should HR be more concerned with experience and qualifications than what is on the skin?


  • by caroline 30/09/2013 2:48:51 PM

    For me removing the barrier is not about the tatoo but breaking down the prejudice of the hirers which is the real barrier to employment

  • by HC 1/10/2013 9:30:02 AM

    Interesting, you'd have to assume that there are jobs available and that people simply do not fill them for this to have an effect, or that buisnesses are choosing other cities to host these jobs.

  • by CosmeticTattoo.org 1/10/2013 1:47:58 PM

    Having choices is what is important, providing people the option of removing tattoos if they wish to do so is positive thing.


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