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Showing posts with label companies hire ex felons. Show all posts
Showing posts with label companies hire ex felons. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Out of Prison, Out of Work: A New Normal for Ex-Offenders in North Carolina?

From The North Carolina Dept. of Commerce

The share of former offenders finding work in North Carolina within a year after release from state prison declined from 62% in 1998 to 39% in 2014. This article explores some of the factors that may be responsible for this trend, including changes in the labor market that have made it harder to find a job—particularly for blue-collar workers, and especially for former offenders.

In previous articles, we reported that the employment prospects of ex-offenders improved following the end of the Great Recession as the economy grew and the labor market tightened. However, data from the North Carolina Common Follow-up System (CFS) reveal that the post-release employment rates of former prisoners remain much lower than in the late 1990s—a potentially worrying trend.[1]

Out of Prison, Out of Work: A New Normal for Ex-Offenders in North Carolina?


This article, while not exhaustive, offers some theories for why the fortunes of former offenders recently released from state prison have worsened since the late 1990s. Job-finding rates have declined among jobseekers in general (not just ex-offenders) in North Carolina and nationwide over the past two decades, reflecting underlying changes in the labor market that have made it more difficult to find work. One change in particular—a slump in goods-producing jobs—may be limiting the types of employment opportunities traditionally available to former offenders. In addition, the widespread practice of pre-employment background checks has placed further impediments to post-release job-finding.

The upshot: regardless of the cause, former state prisoners in North Carolina are experiencing worse employment outcomes now than they did during earlier periods of economic growth. Individuals tasked with helping ex-offenders obtain employment may find it more challenging to serve this population than in previous decades, despite the opportunities afforded by North Carolina’s red-hot labor market.

Before proceeding to our theories, we should first note that the composition of the inmate population has changed over time in ways that may have affected the employment outcomes of former prisoners. For example, North Carolina’s 2011 Justice Reinvestment Act (JRA) redirected misdemeanants from state prisons to county jails, thus increasing the prevalence of felons in the prison population. Prisoners’ education levels have also decreased over time, including prior to the JRA, and as a result they may be finding fewer opportunities for gainful employment after release.[2]

Another possible explanation can be found in labor market trends occurring during this period. It has gotten progressively more difficult for unemployed jobseekers to find work since the late 1990s. The share of unemployment insurance (UI) claimants employed within a year after layoff declined from 89% in 2000 (the earliest year available) to 82% in 2014. Similar trends can be seen in survey data; the percent of unemployed workers in the Current Population Survey finding work the following month declined from 34% in 1998 to 20% in 2014.[3]

Out of Prison, Out of Work: A New Normal for Ex-Offenders in North Carolina?


These declines in job-finding, which mirror national trends, have occurred alongside “jobless recoveries” that feature persistently slow job growth, high unemployment rates, and pervasive long-term unemployment after the end of each recession. Economists have proposed a wide range of explanations for jobless recoveries, including the widespread slowdown in new business startups, which has cut off an important source of job growth; businesses taking advantage of recessions to streamline their operations; and structural changes in the labor market that have yielded permanent job losses in certain industries. These various forces have, individually or combined, helped create a less hospitable labor market for all jobseekers—not just former offenders.

The concentration of job losses in certain sectors—particularly “blue collar” industries—provides an additional clue in explaining the worsening employment outcomes of ex-offenders. North Carolina has followed the rest of the nation in seeing declining levels of employment in goods-producing sectors, particularly in Manufacturing and Construction. The Construction sector experienced steep job losses after the Great Recession, while Manufacturing employment fell continuously from the late 1990s through 2010. Our state had nearly 350,000 fewer Manufacturing jobs and 36,000 fewer Construction jobs in 2014 than it did in 1998.

Out of Prison, Out of Work: A New Normal for Ex-Offenders in North Carolina?


Indeed, most of the decline in ex-offenders’ employment rates can be accounted for by fewer finding work in Manufacturing and Construction. These sectors employ a disproportionate share of former offenders; in 1998, 12% of former offenders were primarily employed in Manufacturing within a year after release, while 11% were employed in Construction.[4] By 2014, the share primarily employed in Manufacturing and Construction had fallen to 6% and 4%, respectively. Employment in these two sectors fell by 13 percentage points, accounting for most of the 23-percentage point decrease in former offenders’ employment rates. 

Out of Prison, Out of Work: A New Normal for Ex-Offenders in North Carolina?



Finally, we note that employer hiring practices may have made it more difficult for former offenders to find work. The vast majority of employers now conduct criminal background checks on job candidates, a trend driven in part by post-September 11th security concerns and the greater availability of inexpensive background checks. The increased prevalence of background checks makes it more difficult for otherwise-qualified former offenders, particularly felons, to obtain employment; academic studies have found that employers are less likely to consider job applicants with criminal records. Among North Carolina employers surveyed by LEAD in 2018 who reported difficulty hiring, 23% reported that applicants’ criminal records were a reason for their hiring challenges. 

General disclaimers:

Data sources cited in this article are derived from surveys and administrative records and are subject to sampling and non-sampling error. Any mistakes in data management, analysis, or presentation are the author’s.


[1] The earliest data available in the Common Follow-up System for state prisoners covers the year 1997, and the latest data covers the year 2014. We calculate wages in the year after release from state prison, and treat any wage-earning during this year as an indication of employment. Around 3% of released prisoners are released from more than one period of incarceration in a given year; for these persons, we include only the last release of each year. Wage data in the CFS are based on state unemployment insurance (UI) tax records from employers, and thus may omit earnings from federal government employment, self-employment, “under-the-table” jobs, and other work not covered by state UI laws.

[2] In 2010, only 28% of exiting prisoners had completed the 12th grade or higher, compared to 43% in 1998. Source: NC Department of Public Safety, Automated System Query

[3] We use longitudinally-linked Current Population Survey microdata from IPUMS-CPS, University of Minnesota, www.ipums.org

[4] Here we define “primary employment” as the sector in which a worker earned the most wages in each year. In 1998, 37% of employed former offenders primarily worked in Manufacturing and Construction within a year after release, compared to 23% of all workers in the state.


Companies that hire felons


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


Eric Mayo

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Thursday, October 4, 2018

Why companies are turning to ex-cons to fill slots for workers

  • More American companies, such as McDonald's and Delta Air Lines, are hiring ex-cons as part of their inclusion strategy.
  • Executives say 82 percent of their ex-offender hires have been at least as successful as their average hire, according to a report by the Society of Human Resources Management.
  • Only 14 percent of human resources managers won't consider hiring ex-offenders.

Why companies are turning to ex-cons to fill slots for workers
Ty Hookway had to check on an office building his building services company, CleanCraft, was set to clean in upstate New York, and what he saw changed his business and his life. The maintenance person who was supposed to do the work had called in sick, and when Hookway got there, he found one of his newer hires, Sanford Coley, in the building, working away in shorts rather than his uniform.

But what really got Hookway's attention: The shorts revealed that Coley was wearing an ankle bracelet. He was on parole for bank robbery. Hookway hadn't thought to ask about Coley's criminal record.

"I was thinking I should fire him," Hookway said. "Now he's one of my best friends."

More stories like this may be coming to offices like yours. With the job market tight, ex-felons and other workers who often struggled to find jobs are getting a second look, according to a recent report by the Society for Human Resource Management, which surveyed more than 2,000 corporate managers and HR executives nationwide on their attitudes about ex-offenders for a report released in May.

Unemployment among ex-felons isn't explicitly tracked by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and it was estimated at 27 percent last year by the Prison Policy Initiative. But some researchers think it's even higher — informal estimates claim as many as half of released convicts failed to find jobs or stayed out of the labor force. Since an estimated one-third of U.S. adults have at least an arrest record, according to the human resources society, it's a lot of people.

"This isn't a problem of aspirations, it's a structural problem involving discrimination and a lack of opportunities available to people who have been to prison," said Lucius Couloute, a policy analyst at the Prison Policy Initiative. "It really takes employers who are willing to let go of their biases in pursuit not only of equality but of the best candidates."

Corporations are showing at least some signs of interest, advocates say. In addition to SHRM's study, the job site Glassdoor barred job listings from employers who intend to weed out ex-offenders. New Jersey-based consultant Eric Mayo says a long list of top American companies have proved themselves open to hiring ex-offenders, mostly for service jobs, ranging from minimum-wage employers from McDonald's to CNBC parent Comcast and, in Mayo's Atlantic City backyard, casinos, which he said are practically cities unto themselves, demanding an array of service workers.

Corporations are showing at least some signs of interest, advocates say. In addition to SHRM's study, the job site Glassdoor barred job listings from employers who intend to weed out ex-offenders. New Jersey-based consultant Eric Mayo says a long list of top American companies have proved themselves open to hiring ex-offenders, mostly for service jobs, ranging from minimum-wage employers from McDonald's to CNBC parent Comcast and, in Mayo's Atlantic City backyard, casinos, which he said are practically cities unto themselves, demanding an array of service workers.

"It really takes employers who are willing to let go of their biases in pursuit not only of equality but of the best candidates."-Lucius Couloute, policy analyst at the Prison Policy Initiative

"I encourage people to apply for every job they feel qualified for," Mayo said. "Even without a felony record, looking for a job is a numbers game.''

To stoke more action, the federal government is offering a tax incentive called the Work Opportunity Tax Credit for employers who hire and retain ex-felons, veterans and individuals from other target groups with significant barriers to employment. Under this program if an employee works at least 120 hours a year, a company can claim a 25 percent tax credit of their first year's wages and 40 percent if he or she works 400 hours.

Some cities and states also offer tax credits and other incentives to employers willing to hire ex-cons and give them a second chance. Philadelphia's Fair Chance Hiring Initiative provides a cash reimbursement to employers who hire felons that have been released from prison within the past five years.

Many employers are apprehensive about hiring felons and look for ways to hedge their risk. They partner with local organizations that work to train ex-cons for jobs and provide other types of rehabilitation services. To find these organizations, state unemployment or workforce development offices can offer referrals.

The Federal Bonding Program is another option companies turn to. This program bonds felons who are hired and mainstreamed by companies of all sizes. The bond provides compensation if an employer suffers theft or loss due to the employee's dishonesty.

Eliminating bias in the workplace

If there is a ground zero for the push to destigmatize a criminal history in the workplace, it is Greyston, a 100-person Yonkers, New York, bakery that makes mostly brownies for a client list that includes Unilever's Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream unit, Amazon's Whole Foods grocery chain and Delta Air Lines. "We consider them the crown jewel of our values-led sourcing program," said Unilever spokesman Sean Greenwood, pointing out that Greyston, while founded by a Buddhist monk with a mission to do good, has balanced its social mission with being a reliable, businesslike supplier for decades.

Greyston's "open hiring" model means that anyone who puts their name on a list for a production job can have one as they become available, CEO Mike Brady said. The trick is, they have to make it through an apprenticeship program designed to test (and build) their basic work aptitudes, such as staying on schedule and working well with others. About half don't make it, Brady said. But enough do to convince Greyston that other companies would be better off investing less in screening out workers and more in training and supporting them to capitalize on second chances and on connecting them to social services they need to support a transition to working life.

More from At Work:



"We'll hire anyone who walks through the front door — no questions asked," said Brady, who estimates that about 40 Greyston workers have criminal records. "We do everything we can to make them successful. But if they're not, we let a lot of people go.''

Two such candidates are one-time drug dealers Dion Drew and Alvin Wilson. Drew, 41, grew up in Yonkers and said he plied his old trade a three-minute walk from Greyston. Wilson, 64, spent nearly a decade after his release as a self-employed contractor, doing everything from carpentry to snow shoveling before coming to work there.

Drew has become an ambassador for open hiring, even doing a Ted Talk with Brady about it. He got out of prison in 2008 after his third conviction, got rejected everywhere he applied, and landed a $7.15-an-hour gig as a Greyston apprentice in 2009. He's now a $25-an-hour supervisor with an eight-year-old daughter and two stepchildren. He claims he has the two dogs and now "just needs the house."

Why companies are turning to ex-cons to fill slots for workers
Greyston CEO Mike Brady with employee Dion Drew, a former drug dealer  


Wilson is a mixer on the brownie line, where the quickly moving array of goodies waiting to be wrapped recall the famous scene from I Love Lucy where the heroines land short-lived jobs in a candy factory (the bakery makes about a tractor-trailer load of brownies daily, or 7 million pounds per year). He was released in 2008, from the last of his five felony cases, and arrived at Greyston two years ago.

Both said their big problem in getting back to work was learning how to take direction and fit in, as people do in the workplace. And each said the biggest difference between themselves and others who fail at reentering society is that they simply decided, while in jail, that they had to do better.

"If you can't make your mind up in 12-and-a-half years what you want to do in life, it's never going to happen," Wilson said.

"I set my goals and plans while I was upstate," Drew added. "I wanted to save money the right way, to have a family. I wanted to put the smile back on my mom's face.''

Greyston now is trying to package its approach to lure in other companies. Just a short drive from its factory, Greyston set up the Center for Open Hiring, which Perry Solomon, a consultant working on the project, described as a way of training companies to "think the right way" — swapping expenses spent finding workers who don't have red flags for more investment in training.

"Where I see the ROI is in tremendous loyalty, productivity and culture," Brady said.

Changing attitudes

A study on employers' attitudes toward hiring ex-felons suggests that many are ready for change. Only 14 percent of human-resources managers won't consider hiring ex-offenders, the report commissioned by the Society of Human Resources Management and funded by the Charles Koch Instituted says. The biggest reason is simple: 82 percent of executives say their ex-offender hires have been at least as successful as their average hire. Other common motivations were to help build communities and give ex-offenders a second chance.

Why companies are turning to ex-cons to fill slots for workers
Greyston's president and CEO Mike Brady in front of the company's Center for Open Hiring


But only 5 percent actively recruit ex-offenders, the survey said. The most important factors in getting hired: A verifiable work history, and some level of education or training after the workers were convicted, indicating that they improved themselves while imprisoned.

That's consistent with a study by the RAND Institute, which found that 59 percent of employers would consider an ex-offender with one conviction if they were given an incentive through a tax credit, which they are offered under federal law. But the biggest difference-maker is if employers can recover staffing-agency fees they pay to find workers who don't stick with the job, or get the agencies to find them a replacement worker for free if they take a chance on an ex-offender who doesn't work out.

Rand found that employers are much less willing to look at felons with a history of violence, such as robbery charges, Rand scholar Priscilla Hunt said.

"What they responded to was staffing-agency fees," Hunt said. "Even more than if you increased the [tax credit] money."

What doesn't appear to work as well is trying to force employers' hands by forbidding them to ask about criminal records on job applications. So-called "ban the box" laws, named for the check-box next to questions about whether applicants have records, often lead to racial discrimination, as employers screen out a broad swath of minority applicants in order to avoid interviewing ex-offenders, according to research by Rutgers University economist Amanda Agan.

Screening out ex-offenders can also subject employers to liability for policies that have a disproportionate racial impact, said Dariely Rodriguez, director of the economic justice project at the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

"Employers have an obligation not to discriminate," Rodriguez said. "They have an obligation to root out bias."

Mostly, employers can help ex-offenders while also helping themselves, Hookway said.

"You have to develop the culture where everyone is on board," Hookway said, comparing ex-offenders with work-friendly attitudes to people who have succeeded in addiction treatment. "Once they get on the right side, they become advocates. They'll hold other employees accountable. They want it more."




Why companies are turning to ex-cons to fill slots for workers


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

Eric Mayo

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Monday, October 1, 2018

Re-Entering the Workforce After Prison Harder For Non-Whites

Getting hired after serving time can be more difficult for some than for others


Candace Manriquez Wrenn Arizona Public Media


Re-Entering the Workforce After Prison Harder For Non-Whites
A group of scholars at the University of Arizona sought to find how felony convictions affect those looking to re-enter the workforce. Their study shows that the convictions aren’t the only hurdle for getting a job.

The U.S. Department of Justice projects that 9 percent of all men will serve time in federal or state prison. With the median time served being just over two years, most formerly incarcerated people will eventually be back on the job market.

Tamar Kugler is an associate professor in the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona. She said the ability to find a job is critical, not only for those who’ve been to prison, but also for society.

"We want those people to be productive members of society, to be able to get a legit job, stay out of prison, earn enough money so they rehabilitate their lives."

But she said convicted felons can have a hard time finding work once they are released.

"Those people usually have lower education so it’s harder for them to find a job. And they have also experienced an erosion of skills from the fact that they have been out of the job market."

She notes that people who have served time also have a lack of ties to legitimate employers.

According to the Brookings Institution, in the first full calendar year following their release, almost half of those previously incarcerated have no reported earnings and the median earnings of those that do are just above $10,000 a year.

Kugler, along with Barry Goldman at the University of Arizona and Dylan Cooper at California State University, Channel Islands, cited research that shows that blacks and other minorities are more frequently denied jobs because of racial discrimination, but they wanted to test whether blacks with felony convictions were penalized more than whites with identical felony convictions, work experiences, and skills during the hiring process. Dr. Kugler says:

"We find that black applicants pay a much bigger price in terms of their desirability to get hired for a job than white applicants. The reduction that the white applicants suffer from having a felony conviction is not nearly as big as that that you see for black applicants."

Findings like these aren’t purely academic.

Clyde Hardin, a tattoo artist in Tucson, served two stints in prison. When he was released, he had help finding a job.

"My, now, wife got me my first job. I did commercial cleaning in buildings, banks, overnight and that paid my fees, fines, restitution and then when I wasn’t doing that, I would just hustle my butt off with tattooing." 

But working overnights hindered Hardin’s ability to tattoo, a passion he developed in prison that he hoped to turn into a career. So, he began to look for a different job:

"Probably in a four-month span over 100 applications. Legitimately. I’m talking Craigslist jobs, jobs listings, newspaper, door-to-door," he said.

And when he would land an interview, things often went downhill quickly.


"I would get to the interview process and as soon as I started explaining my record or why I was incarcerated, you would see the momentum swing of he’s a potential future hire to I would never hire this guy."


Findings like these aren’t purely academic.

Clyde Hardin, a tattoo artist in Tucson, served two stints in prison. When he was released, he had help finding a job.

"My, now, wife got me my first job. I did commercial cleaning in buildings, banks, overnight and that paid my fees, fines, restitution and then when I wasn’t doing that, I would just hustle my butt off with tattooing." 

But working overnights hindered Hardin’s ability to tattoo, a passion he developed in prison that he hoped to turn into a career. So, he began to look for a different job:

"Probably in a four-month span over 100 applications. Legitimately. I’m talking Craigslist jobs, jobs listings, newspaper, door-to-door," he said.

And when he would land an interview, things often went downhill quickly.



Companies that hire felons






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



Eric Mayo

Read More

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

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Jobs for Felons: Educated Felon is Looking for Good Job

Jobs for Felons: Educated Felon is Looking for Good Job


Jobs for Felons: Educated Felon is Looking for Good Job
Hello,

I came across your blog on jailtojob.com and read an entry from 2015 that pretty much reflects what's currently going on in my long time boyfriend's life. He recently got his second felony for a drug conviction in 2016. He previously was out of trouble for 10 years, and was actually on his way to obtain his certificate of rehabilitation. Unfortunately, that's no longer on the table now that he has his recent conviction on his record. He's currently serving his probation, but is due for a review in court next week to see if he can get off early (keeping our fingers crossed).


I'm sure as you well know, it is extremely difficult for an ex felon to find gainful employment. It's incredibly discouraging, even for me. I try to be positive and be some sort of resource for him, but he has a very self-defeating attitude right now and I just want to help him. Yes, I recognize that he has made it much more difficult for himself to find a job with a good salary and benefits, but I'm more of an optimist and I try my best to believe that something will come along, if he puts in the work.

He is educated (he has his BA from Cal State Northridge in Psychology) and has work experience in the respite health field. He now believes that is no longer an option for him, once they do a background check he'll be denied. He is very well spoken, and is like a chameleon- he is able to integrate himself pretty effortlessly into anything he puts his mind to...he just needs that opportunity to prove it.  He needs someone who is willing to give him a chance to provide for himself, his family and start preparing for his future. 

Do you have any advice? A direction we can go into that will help him find a job that he will find rewarding, and gainful? I am aware of the Federal Bonding program and have that to bring to the table, but he is very discouraged, depressed and going through some type of learned helplessness. I just want to find something for him to be successful at. Anything I suggest, he seems to retort with a reason why it won't work out. His probation officer is no help, and is hardly familiar with his case.  He hasn't offered any assistance or resources and when I ask my boyfriend to inquire about it with his PO, he shrugs it off and says things like, "i'm just a speck in his caseload". He also doesn't want to bring any unwanted attention to himself, so as to not cause any problems.

I'm at a loss. I myself am working a salary job, but it certainly isn't enough and I know he will only be happy once he's offered a position that will grant him the ability to provide a comfortable life for himself and his family. I don't want him believing that he is only destined for a minimum wage job for the rest of his life....

Anything helps,

Jessica 

Jobs for Felons: Educated Felon is Looking for Good Job



Hello Jessica,
Jobs for Felons: Educated Felon is Looking for Good JobIt seems that your boyfriend has dug himself a bit of a hole.  All is not lost.  One thing I might try is the local community college.  Community colleges are always looking for adjunct instructors to teach freshman classes.  Adjunct instructors are used on an as-needed basis but it is a great way t0 get a start in the professional world.

Another thing to try is contact your local councilperson.  Council members in touch with a lot of things and people in the community.  They may know of open positions in the area,  Remember council members are politicians and every person is a potential vote.

Jobs for Felons: Educated Felon is Looking for Good JobAnother option is to apply for temporary employment.  Working for a temporary agency is a great way to quickly get a job.  Often temporary assignments turn into permanent jobs.  Some agencies have clients that require professional employees.  The key to felons applying to temporary agencies is to apply to smaller, privately owned agencies rather that large national companies.  Sometimes larger companies have guidelines that prohibit the hiring of felons.  Smaller agencies are free to hire anyone they choose so your boyfriend may have better luck with them.

Frequent readers of my blog know that everyone I speak to who is looking for a job I direct to the local One-stop Career Center.  Each state has a network of centers that offer a variety of free services that can assist you in finding employment. In addition, these centers offer a wide array of services that can help a felon get jobs.

 Some services available are:

Counselors for One-on-one Assistance

Jobs for Felons: Educated Felon is Looking for Good JobWorkshops (Resume Writing, Interviewing Skills, and related topics.)

Computers with internet access and word processing

Lists of thousands of job listings

Printers, fax machines, phones, and copiers for job search use

Each center has counselors there that help clients in their job searches. 

You can find the nearest location of the One Stop Career Center in your local phone book or on the web at:


I hope this helps.



Jobs for Felons: Educated Felon is Looking for Good Job


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




Jobs for Felons: Five Places Felons Can Find Jobs - Get a Job Quickly!




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Eric Mayo

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Monday, May 21, 2018

Oregon company makes a point of hiring ex-convicts

 Oregon company makes a point of hiring ex-convicts
About one in three of the more than 300 employees at Oregon-based Dave's Killer Bread has a criminal background.  - 
By 
A major effort is under way in this country to reform the way we sentence drug criminals. Thousands of felons are getting early release according to the U.S. Sentencing Commission,  and that will continue for years to come.
The question is, will there be jobs for them?
If you visit the bakery at Dave's Killer Bread outside Portland, you'll find pumps sucking two-thousand pounds of ingredients into mixing bowls.  You'll also find that a third of the company's 300 employees have a criminal past, including plant manager Ronnie Elrod. 
“We're just so happy to have a job that typically we've got an attitude of gratitude rather than a sense of entitlement.  And we also know that opportunities are going to be hard to come by for us so we have to take those opportunities that come along and we really have to make good on them,” Elrod said.
And Harvard sociologist Devah Pager believes that's true.  She is studying the job performance of ex-cons in the military. “Those with serious criminal pasts perform just as well if not better than their counterparts with no criminal records.  At least with appropriate kinds of screening, individuals with serious criminal records can perform very well in the workplace,” she said.
Another of Pager's studies  shows that a criminal record seriously reduces the chances of getting a job. “I hired groups of young men to pose as job applicants and sent them all over the city applying for jobs and half the time they reported having a felony conviction and simply by checking that box, their chances of  receiving a call-back or job offer were cut in half,” Pager said.
Dave's Killer Bread has hired so many ex-convicts because, well because of Dave...Dave Dahl, that is. After serving 15 years for drug crimes, Dahl returned to his family's bakery and in 2005 created his namesake bread. “It was based on the epiphany I had in prison which was that I could turn my own life around and eventually the feeling was that we could help others to do the same thing if they were willing to do most of the work themselves,” Dahl said.
The company uses its hiring practices as a selling point, with Dahl's picture on every package, even though a judge put him on conditional release after he rammed into some police cars two years ago.
This year Dave's Killer Bread was sold to Flowers Foods for $275 million. 


 Oregon company makes a point of hiring ex-convicts



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


Oregon company makes a point of hiring ex-convicts


Eric Mayo

Read More