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Sunday, September 16, 2018

Former felons deserve a second chance

The Times Herald - Published 3:42 p.m. ET Sept. 11, 2018

Former felons deserve a second chance
One of the things that is Pure Michigan is sending people to prison. Although incarceration rates have fallen the past few years, there are three times as many people in Michigan prisons now than there were four decades ago. If Michigan were a country, it would have one of the top 20 incarceration rates in the world and would likely be on a State Department watch list.

More than six of every 100 Michiganders is in prison. About twice as many are former felons, those who have been released from prison, although many are still repaying a debt to society they no long owe.

It turns out that society needs them. Michigan needs them to get up in the morning and come to work. For many, though, that isn’t possible because one of the first things many employers ask, after name and address on a job application, is whether the applicant has been convicted of a felony.

One of those who would have to answer yes is the voice of those Pure Michigan commercials. Ten years before “Home Improvement” and 18 years before the debut of the state tourism campaign, Tim Allen was paroled from federal prison where he was serving three to seven years after being arrested with almost a pound and a half of cocaine.

Allen found work after his felony convictions.

Other former felons should be given the same chance. Many won’t. Some former felons are reluctant to apply for jobs, knowing they will have to check that box. Many employers won’t look past that blemish on a potential asset’s past history. Either way, applicants don’t get interviewed, employers don’t learn about important and relevant training and experience, well qualified people won’t get jobs and businesses will struggle to fill vital positions.

The felony question isn’t a valid predictor of future performance and should be illegal. In a handful of states and a few cities across the country, it is. A bill to ban it in Michigan never got a committee hearing.

But an executive order of Gov. Rick Snyder, Michigan last week just became one of about three dozen states that doesn’t ask the question of prospective state employees.

The city of Port Huron will no longer ask its applicants if they’ve been convicted of a felony. Beyond being a good business practice, it is part of City Manager James Freed’s campaign to give the city a reputation as a place welcoming to anyone who wants to work.

City Council can’t extend the ban to include other employers in the city, as Austin, Texas, and other cities have done.

That’s because, in March, Snyder signed Senate Bill 353, which prohibits local governments from enacting ordinances that restrict use of the felony question by private employers. Irony is not a crime.

Former felons deserve a second chance



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Former felons deserve a second chance


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Eric Mayo

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Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Employers are slowly turning to ex-offenders to fill open jobs in a worker-hungry economy

In a tight labor market, employers are willing to expand talent pool. 

By  Star Tribune
Employers are slowly turning to ex-offenders to fill open jobs in a worker-hungry economy
Quality Ingredients CEO Isabelle Day and plant manager
Bob Banken said
six of their 60 employees are former inmates.
CEO Isabelle Day of Quality Ingredients of Burnsville was having difficulty filling jobs last year when she read a Star Tribune column about hiring former inmates.

Starting pay is $15 an hour and can reach $40,000 a year, and employees get annual bonuses, health care and a retirement plan.

Day and her plant manager work through Twin Cities Rise, the nonprofit trainer that puts ex-inmates and other low-income folks through a rigorous curriculum of personal empowerment, training and soft-skill development before placing them in internships, at temp agencies or in full-time jobs.

“These are great people who have made mistakes,” Day said. “In many cases, these people are stronger than somebody walking off the street to apply. The work is tough. We see a sincerity and great communication skills. They tend to be respectful, thoughtful and mature.”

As the job market gets tighter, employers are slowly turning to nonprofits such as Rise, Emerge, Building Better Futures, Summit Academy, Genesys Works, Goodwill Easter Seals and others that help former felons build skills and land decent jobs.

“We are safer when these guys have jobs and housing,” said CEO Dan Pfarr of 180 Degrees. “We are their step from prison to the civilian world.”

The Minneapolis nonprofit serves men on parole as they move from prison to community with short-term housing and counseling. It links them to training and organizations connected to employers. It has to happen quickly. Most parolees get only 60 to 90 days to get housing and find a job, with expenses covered by the Minnesota Department of Corrections.

The transition from prison to work, and civilian society, is not easy, particularly if you have been locked up 10 or 15 years and never operated a cellphone or computer. It also takes the right mind-set and a willingness to beat the odds.

Close to 60 percent of Minnesota inmates are back in prison within two years.

Minnesota has a lower-than-average incarceration rate but one of the highest rates of people on probation, which can end up being a “back door” to prison re-entry.

More than half of those returning to prison are on parole violations, according to the Minnesota Department of Commerce. Pfarr and Richard Coffey, 180 Degrees program director, said the violations often are for noncriminal acts, such as being late or taking a different route than prescribed to training or jobs.

“These guys, and we deal with about 300 a year, get a case manager and we work with them on a plan. Some of them have some training. I’m impressed with many of them. Life for them can be daunting,” Pfarr said.

Low jobless rate’s upside

The good news is that the low unemployment rate is prompting employers to warm to hiring former inmates.

Tony Bulmer, a former prisoner, has moved up over six months from a laborer position to a $20 supervisory position at Gregory Foods in Eagan. He’s also moving from a 180 Degrees residence to his own room in September.

“I’m taking this opportunity to the fullest,” said Bulmer, 31, also a trained diesel mechanic.

Bulmer grew up working in a family-owned bakery and likes machinery, which has helped in his new role.

“If I can see how it works, I can figure out how to do it,” he said.

A groundbreaking report last year by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) provides a road map into the “successes of corporate policies giving formerly incarcerated Americans a fair chance at re-entry.”

It’s been embraced by large employers including Google, Total Wine, the Ford Foundation, the Open Society Foundation, Koch Industries, Walmart and other companies.

Locally, Quality Ingredients, Target, Bremer Bank and numerous small businesses are on board.

And Rise and its national partner, Root & Rebound, which advocates for former inmates, have received great response from local employers for their “Minnesota Employers’ Fair Chance Hiring Guide.”

The guide takes employers through legal compliance and risk minimization, background checks, the rewards of hiring a second-chance worker, best practices for “onboarding” former inmates and strategies for helping them integrate into the workforce.

As the Minnesota prison system and number of prisoners and parolees generally ballooned over the last 30 years, in part because of mandatory sentences for drug and other nonviolent offenses, the state has spent disproportionately less on education, training and employment services.

Louis King, CEO of Summit Academy, which works with low-income people to earn high school-equivalency degrees, and train for entry-level posts in building trades, IT and health care, has said the best social-welfare program is gaining skills, and showing up for a living-wage job.CEO Isabelle Day of Quality Ingredients of Burnsville was having difficulty filling jobs last year when she read a Star Tribune column about hiring former inmates.

“Turnover was high and we were using [costly] temporary agencies for labor,” she recalled.

Today, six of the 60 factory workers on the floor of Quality Ingredients are ex-offenders.

Starting pay is $15 an hour and can reach $40,000 a year, and employees get annual bonuses, health care and a retirement plan.

Day and her plant manager work through Twin Cities Rise, the nonprofit trainer that puts ex-inmates and other low-income folks through a rigorous curriculum of personal empowerment, training and soft-skill development before placing them in internships, at temp agencies or in full-time jobs.

“These are great people who have made mistakes,” Day said. “In many cases, these people are stronger than somebody walking off the street to apply. The work is tough. We see a sincerity and great communication skills. They tend to be respectful, thoughtful and mature.”

As the job market gets tighter, employers are slowly turning to nonprofits such as Rise, Emerge, Building Better Futures, Summit Academy, Genesys Works, Goodwill Easter Seals and others that help former felons build skills and land decent jobs.

“We are safer when these guys have jobs and housing,” said CEO Dan Pfarr of 180 Degrees. “We are their step from prison to the civilian world.”

The Minneapolis nonprofit serves men on parole as they move from prison to community with short-term housing and counseling. It links them to training and organizations connected to employers. It has to happen quickly. Most parolees get only 60 to 90 days to get housing and find a job, with expenses covered by the Minnesota Department of Corrections.

The transition from prison to work, and civilian society, is not easy, particularly if you have been locked up 10 or 15 years and never operated a cellphone or computer. It also takes the right mind-set and a willingness to beat the odds.

Close to 60 percent of Minnesota inmates are back in prison within two years.

Minnesota has a lower-than-average incarceration rate but one of the highest rates of people on probation, which can end up being a “back door” to prison re-entry.

More than half of those returning to prison are on parole violations, according to the Minnesota Department of Commerce. Pfarr and Richard Coffey, 180 Degrees program director, said the violations often are for noncriminal acts, such as being late or taking a different route than prescribed to training or jobs.

“These guys, and we deal with about 300 a year, get a case manager and we work with them on a plan. Some of them have some training. I’m impressed with many of them. Life for them can be daunting,” Pfarr said.

Low jobless rate’s upside

The good news is that the low unemployment rate is prompting employers to warm to hiring former inmates.

Tony Bulmer, a former prisoner, has moved up over six months from a laborer position to a $20 supervisory position at Gregory Foods in Eagan. He’s also moving from a 180 Degrees residence to his own room in September.

“I’m taking this opportunity to the fullest,” said Bulmer, 31, also a trained diesel mechanic.

Bulmer grew up working in a family-owned bakery and likes machinery, which has helped in his new role.

“If I can see how it works, I can figure out how to do it,” he said.

A groundbreaking report last year by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) provides a road map into the “successes of corporate policies giving formerly incarcerated Americans a fair chance at re-entry.”

It’s been embraced by large employers including Google, Total Wine, the Ford Foundation, the Open Society Foundation, Koch Industries, Walmart and other companies.

Locally, Quality Ingredients, Target, Bremer Bank and numerous small businesses are on board.

And Rise and its national partner, Root & Rebound, which advocates for former inmates, have received great response from local employers for their “Minnesota Employers’ Fair Chance Hiring Guide.”

The guide takes employers through legal compliance and risk minimization, background checks, the rewards of hiring a second-chance worker, best practices for “onboarding” former inmates and strategies for helping them integrate into the workforce.

As the Minnesota prison system and number of prisoners and parolees generally ballooned over the last 30 years, in part because of mandatory sentences for drug and other nonviolent offenses, the state has spent disproportionately less on education, training and employment services.

Louis King, CEO of Summit Academy, which works with low-income people to earn high school-equivalency degrees, and train for entry-level posts in building trades, IT and health care, has said the best social-welfare program is gaining skills, and showing up for a living-wage job.


Employers are slowly turning to ex-offenders to fill open jobs in a worker-hungry economy


companies hire felons | companies that hire felons | Companies that hire ex-offenders | Employers that hire ex-offenders | employers that hire felons | Jobs for felons | jobs for ex-offenders | jobs that hire felons | places that hire felons | felon friendly jobs | felon friendly employers | how to get a job with criminal record | second chance jobs for felons | temp agencies that hire felons | high paying jobs for felons | felon friendly


Eric Mayo

Read More

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Jobs are scarce for a felon with degree

Jobs are scarce for a felon with degree


Jobs are scarce for a felon with degree
Hi there,

I have been doing some research recently on trying to find a professional career with a criminal background. Apparently I have done everything backwards. I graduated from the University of Tennessee with honors, but soon after I got into some trouble.  Long story short, I've done my time but I can't seem to find a job.  I've tried everything, but this thing is beating me down.  There is just no forgiveness and all the time I spent earning my degree is wasted just because of one mistake.


Thank you,

Frustrated

Jobs are scarce for a felon with degree


Jobs are scarce for a felon with degreeYou may be surprised how often I hear stories like yours. Unfortunately sometimes good people go through some incredibly terrible things (remember that.) Don't give up on yourself or your education. I suggest to ex-offenders and felons looking for jobs is to apply with well written cover letters introducing you and your resume. Often when apply for jobs this way, the "Have you been convicted..." question never comes up. If it does, it will be in an interview where you may offer some brief details of what led to your brushes with the law but focus on how you have overcome your past problems and what you have to offer.

As far as finding employment, make use of your local One-stop Career Center. You will find a lot of helpful services including job leads. You can find the center closest to you at http://www.servicelocator.org

I also suggest to those with college degrees to look to local community colleges. Often there are adjunct instructor positions available teaching basic subjects like English or basic math.



I hope this helps.

Jobs for Ex-offenders and Felons: Where can Ex-offenders Find Jobs

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Jobs are scarce for a felon with degree


Jobs for Felons: The Facts about Companies that Hire Ex offenders and Felons 


Jobs are scarce for a felon with degree


companies hire felons | companies that hire felons | Companies that hire ex-offenders | Employers that hire ex-offenders | employers that hire felons | Jobs for felons | jobs for ex-offenders | jobs that hire felons | places that hire felons | felon friendly jobs | felon friendly employers | how to get a job with criminal record | second chance jobs for felons | temp agencies that hire felons | high paying jobs for felons

Read More

Thursday, August 16, 2018

The Truth About Felons, Ex-offenders, Expungement and Jobs

The Truth About Felons, Ex-offenders, Expungement and Jobs



Three years ago at the age of 22, I was arrested and charged with Burglary/With Assault or Battery (FL Statute 810.02-2a) and received a third degree felony. At the time I was in school to pursue my nursing degree; however, at this time I am unable to complete it because of my charge. I am soon to complete my probation and although I am currently working in a restaurant, I don't want that to be the end. I would actually like to find a career and not just any job I could take. Would you happen to know about sealed/expunging that would suit me? If I am unable to get it sealed, is there any professional careers that I may enter? I know this question has been brought up many of times, but I am looking for a second chance at restarting my life and being able to live independently.


Please help.


 Thank you.


The Truth About Felons, Ex-offenders, Expungement and Jobs

There are two points that I would like to make. First Sealing / Expungement is not the cure all many ex-offenders and felons believe it is. Every state has its own statutes regarding the sealing or expungement of records. Some believe that arrest and conviction records are totally erased and will never erased and will never be seen again.  In no case will that happen. Some states hide records from public view. Records will always be available to court systems, law enforcement and government agencies.  You will have to find out if expungement is available in your state and if so, how would it affect your convictions and how you could take advantage of these processes. I suggest you contact your local legal aid office. You may find low-cost or even no cost assistance. Once you find out that information, your second question will be a lot easier to answer.

Since records will always be available to government agencies, ex-offenders and felons may find it difficult to pursue careers that require licensing or certification. You may have to to do a little research to find out if your conviction will prohibit you from being licensed or certified in your state. In all other cases, I suggest that you apply for every job you feel otherwise qualified for.

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Jobs for Felons: The Facts about Companies that Hire Ex offenders and Felons (2018)

companies hire felons | companies that hire felons | Companies that hire ex-offenders | Employers that hire ex-offenders | employers that hire felons | Jobs for felons | jobs for ex-offenders | jobs that hire felons | places that hire felons | felon friendly jobs | felon friendly employers | how to get a job with criminal record | second chance jobs for felons | temp agencies that hire felons | high paying jobs for felons

 The Truth About Felons, Ex-offenders, Expungement and Jobs

Read More