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Showing posts with label Felon Friendly Jobs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Felon Friendly Jobs. Show all posts

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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Friday, July 6, 2018

How legislation can help ex-prisoners find employment



How legislation can help ex-prisoners find employment

The upsurge in the ex-prisoner population, along with employment and economic output losses, overwhelmingly reflects changes that have taken place in the U.S. criminal justice system over the years, not changes in underlying criminal activity. 

Legislation like the Clean Slate bill keeps ex-prisoners out of the correctional system, minimizing costly recidivism rates and enhancing public safety

By Dr. Michael Pittaro, Faculty Member, Criminal Justice at American Military University

In 2008, I published an article, “Prisoner Reintegration Challenges of Assimilation and Crime Desistance,” that focused on the challenges ex-prisoners face after release. Unfortunately, what I stated in 2008 still holds true today. Confronted with uncertainty, animosity, and a multitude of personal, social and legal barriers, most prisoners reenter society with the lifelong stigma of being an ex-prisoner and cannot fully assimilate into society.
The process of “going straight,” which criminologists refer to as desistance from crime, is multifaceted, yet attainable. While it’s possible, it is often very difficult for ex-prisoners to obtain and maintain employment.  More needs to be done to help ex-offenders find work especially since gainful employment is critical for successful reintegration, reducing recidivism rates, and cultivating public safety.
WHY IT’S IMPORTANT TO HELP OFFENDERS FIND EMPLOYMENT
The United States Bureau of Justice Statistics reported that nearly 95 percent of all state prisoners will be released back into the community at some point, whether it is tomorrow or 40 years from today. This suggests that only a mere 5 percent of all state prisoners are serving death sentences or life without the possibility of parole, and an even smaller percentage will die in prison while serving out their respective sentences.
However, ex-offenders are likely to have a very difficult time finding employment. A 2010 Center for Economic and Policy Research report noted that a prison record greatly reduces an ex-prisoner’s prospect of garnering employment. Even at the relatively low productivity rates of ex-prisoners (they typically have less formal education than the average worker), the resulting loss of economic output in the United States is estimated to be between $57 and $65 billion.
The upsurge in the ex-prisoner population, along with employment and economic output losses, overwhelmingly reflects changes that have taken place in the U.S. criminal justice system over the years, not changes in underlying criminal activity. The dramatic increases in sentencing time, especially for drug-related offenses, partly accounts for the spike in the ex-prisoner population. Therefore, changes in both employment and sentencing laws can have a positive impact on the U.S. economy while simultaneously reducing overall recidivism rates and improving public safety. These changes are of significant importance for African Americans. The NAACP reports that African Americans comprise 14 percent of the U.S. population, but disproportionately represent 40 percent of the nation’s prison population.

LEGISLATION INITIATIVES TO AID EX-OFFENDERS

One promising legislative initiative that is gaining in popularity is referred to as the "Clean Slate" bill. The intent of the legislation is to seal the criminal records of low-level, non-violent ex-offenders who go 10 consecutive years without another criminal conviction. The legislation will also seal the records of arrests that did not result in convictions.
The Clean Slate bill has received widespread bipartisan support. In early June 2018, it passed the Pennsylvania Senate unanimously after receiving House approval with only two "no" votes. On June 28, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf signed it into law. In addition to increasing employment prospects, the law will also improve and increase housing and educational opportunities for ex-offenders.
Another initiative gaining momentum with the blessing of bipartisan support is known as “ban the box” or “fair chance policy.” This particular initiative affords applicants a fair chance at employment by removing the conviction history question from job applications and delaying background checks until later in the hiring process.
A 2018 National Employment Law Project publication reported that, as of June 2018, 31 states, the District of Columbia, and more than 150 cities and counties have adopted “ban the box” policies in which employers consider a job candidate’s qualifications first, without the stigma of a conviction or an arrest record.
The report also noted that delaying records-related inquiries until after a conditional offer of employment ensures a fairer decision-making process. It requires employers to consider the job-relatedness of a conviction, time passed, and mitigating circumstances or rehabilitation evidence. Granted, in some cases, it might just simply delay the inevitable in the form of a rejection letter, but remember that this policy is primarily intended to assist low-level, non-violent ex-offenders (namely drug offenders) in obtaining employment, a key protective factor in combating recidivism.
Other promising initiatives include the Federal Work Opportunity Tax Credit Program, which allows a company to claim a tax credit of up to $2,400 for hiring an employee with a felony conviction within one year of the date of his or her conviction or release from incarceration. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Labor offers a free bonding program for “at-risk” job applicants, including people with criminal records, indemnifying employees for loss of money or property due to an employee’s dishonesty or theft.
Such laws are beneficial for ex-offenders and the community. Not only do they help ex-offenders obtain gainful employment to help them successfully reintegrate into society, these measures also provide ex-offenders with a renewed sense of purpose and identity that many lack after their release. By keeping them out of the correctional system, these laws also help minimize costly recidivism rates and contribute to enhanced public safety.

companies that hire felons


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

Eric Mayo

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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Inmates who learn trades are often blocked from jobs. Now something's being done.

Inmates who learn trades are often blocked from jobs. Now something's being done.
Inmates talk while participating in the barber school program at the Stateville Correctional Center in Crest Hill, Illinois on Feb. 11, 2014.Lathan Goumas / The Herald-News via AP

Half the states bar ex-cons from getting the occupational licenses they need to re-enter the workforce. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle say it doesn't make sense.

by Adam Edelman / NBC News

Mike Grennan, a former convict who's getting by piecing together small construction gigs in Port Huron, Michigan, says he's paid his debt to society — but, when it comes to getting an occupational license to be a home-building contractor, he just can't outrun his criminal past.  That's because Michigan, like two dozen other states, has laws on the books that prevent ex-felons like Grennan from getting the professional licenses they need to work in a variety of blue-collar trades, including cutting hair, welding, doing makeup and cosmetics, construction and more.

"It really frustrates me. I have a really good work ethic, and I've paid my debt to society," said Grennan, 46, who has been in and out of state prison for chunks of his adult life, due to a series of convictions he said stem from an addiction to heroin.


Inmates who learn trades are often blocked from jobs. Now something's being done.
Mike Grennan finds work as a subcontractor for small projects in Port Huron, Mich., but he hasn't been able to get his occupational license to be a homebuilder because of his criminal past.Courtesy Mike Grennan

Now, a growing number of states are trying to bring down the barriers convicts face in re-entering the workforce after their release — and that includes a new raft of laws in recent months that have drawn bipartisan support and are aimed at making it easier for ex-cons to get occupational licenses in fields from which they were formerly barred because of their criminal pasts.

Since his 2013 release from Michigan's Jackson State Prison, where he served a three-year sentence on larceny and stolen property charges, Grennan has been blocked from getting his residential maintenance and alteration contractor's license — which he needs to legally work as a homebuilding/renovation contractor. That's because of "good moral character" clauses in Michigan law that essentially prohibit people with felony convictions from getting approved for more than 70 percent of occupational licenses granted by the state.

More than 70 million Americans with prior criminal records are facing similar barriers to re-entering the workforce, where 25 percent of all jobs require an occupational or professional license, according to the National Employment Law Project, a left-leaning workers rights nonprofit based in New York.
"You're looking at crisis in which a large proportion of the American public are just locked out of all sorts of jobs, which not only hurts them and their families, but creates a challenge for employers, often times in in-demand occupations that are looking for qualified workers," said Maurice Emsellem, NELP’s Fair Chance Program director.

The added irony, Emsellem and other experts said, is that so many others, in similar situations to Grennan, actually learned their trade in prison, where they were preparing to come out ready to find a job and re-enter society — only to find out that they can't.


Inmates who learn trades are often blocked from jobs. Now something's being done.
Inmates training to become commercial underwater divers receive classroom instruction at the California Institution for Men state prison in Chino, California. They are among those who can get the licenses they need to get jobs. Patrick T. Fallon / Bloomberg via Getty Images

"There's a lot training happening in construction and manufacturing inside prisons," Emsellem said. "People go through all this effort to reform themselves. And then they can't work when they get out. It's an extraordinary and powerful irony.”

This year, at least eight states have tried to fix the problem.  In March, Delaware Gov. John Carney, a Democrat, signed into law a measure removing some obstacles for former convicts seeking licenses in cosmetology, barbering, electrology, nail technology and aesthetics. Under the law, state licensing boards can no longer include convictions older than 10 years as part of their consideration process; and the waiting period prospective licensees must observe before applying for a waiver of a prior felony conviction was slashed to three years from five.

Weeks earlier, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb, a Republican, signed a similar bill that eliminated "good moral character" and "moral turpitude" clauses from licensing board requirements and forced boards to limit disqualifying crimes to those "specifically and directly" related to the profession in which the applicant was seeking a license.

Also that month, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, a Republican, signed bill mandating that occupational licensing boards render their decisions about whether past convictions would be considered disqualifying before applicants spend time and money on training and classes. Previously, applicants had to complete relevant training before even applying for their license.

Similar laws have gone into effect this year in Tennessee, Wyoming, Kansas, Maryland and Massachusetts. And since 2015 — following a set of best practices for state lawmakers published by the Obama White House regarding occupational licensing reform — at least seven other states have put laws on the books lessening licensing restrictions for applicants with criminal histories, according to the Institute for Justice, a libertarian-leaning public interest law firm.

The restrictions were originally enacted to increase public safety by ensuring that licensed tradespeople met high standards, experts said. But states that have maintained such obstacles to re-entering the workforce for former convicts have actually seen public safety harmed, according to a widely cited 2016 study by Arizona State University economics professor Stephen Slivinski, because the laws result in significantly higher rates of criminal recidivism. The study also found that states with fewer restrictions have lower rates of recidivism.

Even as bipartisan support in state capitals across the U.S. for reform is growing, not everyone's on board.  Bill Cobb, who now works as the deputy director for the ACLU's Campaign for Smart Justice, knows all about it.

In 1993, Cobb, then a 24-year-old college student in Philadelphia and a veteran of Operation Desert Storm, pleaded guilty to robbery, criminal conspiracy and kidnapping charges for driving the getaway car in a crime. After he served a six-year sentence at a Pennsylvania state prison, Cobb enrolled in a Philadelphia program that would set him up to get an occupation license for commercial truck driving.

"I took out thousands of dollar in loans, passed all the written exams," Cobb said, "only to find out that that I would not even be able to get a job driving as a result of not being able to get an occupational license."

Cobb later found work as a telemarketer before embarking on an advocacy career to help people who faced a similar predicament coming out of prison. "I did my time. I was ready to move on and live my life well," he said.

Pennsylvania has to date rejected substantial changes in its licensing laws.


Updated List of Companies that Hire Ex-offenders and Felons


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

Eric Mayo

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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Uber corporate policy offers felons a second chance

Story by Ryan Randazzo,Uriel J. Garcia and Bree Burkitt, The Republic | azcentral.com



Uber corporate policy offer felons a second chanceThe operator behind the wheel of a self-driving Uber vehicle that hit and killed a 49-year-old woman in Tempe Sunday night had served almost four years in an Arizona prison in the early 2000s on an attempted armed robbery conviction.

Uber issued a statement Tuesday saying the operator met its hiring requirements in Arizona. The company directed questions to Uber's public hiring policy that states, "Everyone deserves a fair chance."

However, requirements differ across states for those who provide transportation to the public. Uber recently came under fire for hiring felons in Colorado.

"Vehicle operators in Arizona undergo a screening process that checks local, state and national databases and meets local requirements by law," an Uber spokeswoman said. "The vehicle operator met these requirements."

The San Francisco-based company's policy for hiring drivers in California states that potential Uber drivers are disqualified if they have convictions on felonies, sexual offenses, violent crimes, DUI or drug-related driving offenses, speeding more than 100 mph or child abuse or endangerment in the past seven years. The company set lower standards for lesser violations such as speeding and non-fatal accidents.

A fatal crash in the dark

Elaine Herzberg was walking a bike across Mill Avenue outside the crosswalk near the Marquee Theatre about 10 p.m. Sunday when she was hit, police said.

Police said the vehicle was in autonomous mode with an operator, who has been identified as 44-year-old Rafaela Vasquez, behind the wheel.

Tempe police spokesman Sgt. Ronald Elcock said impairment did not initially appear to be a factor for either Vasquez or Herzberg. He added it was not apparent that the vehicle attempted to slow down while it approached Herzberg.

Autonomous vehicles have been used to shuttle Uber passengers in parts of Tempe and Scottsdale. Riders who are picked up by self-driving cars likely would recognize them from the presence of the exterior sensors.

$8.9 million fine in Colorado

The Colorado Public Utilities Commission company fined Uber's parent company $8.9 million in November 2017 after an investigation determined the ride-hailing service had hired nearly 60 drivers with previous felony convictions.

Colorado state law prevents individuals with felony convictions, alcohol or drug-related driving offenses, unlawful sexual offenses and major traffic violations from working for rideshare companies.

Uber attributed the unlawful hirings to a "process area" inconsistent with Colorado's ridesharing regulations. The company said all drivers must undergo a third-party background screening "per Uber safety policies and Colorado state regulations."

A second-chance policy

Uber proudly touts its corporate policy to offer convicts a second chance.

"One mistake shouldn’t have to lead to a lifetime of punishment," the company website says. "At Uber, we are committed to working within our communities to help provide opportunities to those who need them most."

Close to 300 people worked in the self-driving operations in Tempe as of November 2017. Uber has more than 18,000 contract drivers and 1,000 employees in Arizona, with most of those staffers at the downtown Phoenix operations center.

Court records show Vasquez has a criminal record in Arizona under a different legal name.

Records from the Arizona Department of Corrections show Vasquez served three years and 10 months in prison for attempted armed robbery and unsworn falsification, the latter from when she provided false information while applying government benefits. She was released from prison in 2005.

The attempted armed robbery was in July 2000, when police say Vasquez and an accomplice conspired to rob one of her co-workers and her employer, Blockbuster Video, of a work deposit of $2,782.98, court records show.

A probation officer wrote in court records that Vasquez recognized she had surrounded herself with people who encouraged “ill-advised” actions, leading her to get in trouble. She said she needed to change who she allowed into her life and make better decisions, the officer wrote.

It appears she followed through. Vasquez has had a clean record since.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



Jobs for felons: Turning a Criminal Record Into a Successful Career


Uber corporate policy offers felons a second chance


Uber corporate policy offers felons a second chance

Uber corporate policy offers felons a second chance

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Eric Mayo

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Tuesday, January 30, 2018

More Firms Willing To Employ Felons

More Firms Willing To Employ Felons


More Firms Willing To Employ Felons

By Heather Long
The Washington Post


Ron Nelsen has been in the garage door business since 1976. He can’t recall a time when it’s been this difficult to find workers for his family business, Pioneer Overhead Door in Las Vegas.

When his assistant handed him Ian Black’s resume in April, it seemed like a godsend. Black had more than a decade of experience.

Then Nelsen noticed that all of Black’s recent jobs were at a state prison.

Black is an inmate at Casa Grande, a work-release facility that’s a seven-minute walk from Pioneer Overheard Door. Nelsen knew the place well. He and other business owners in the industrial neighborhood had protested Casa Grande’s arrivalin 2005.

But now his business was booming, and Nelsen needed workers who knew what they were doing. He decided to interview the inmate.


“Ian did well in the interview. He was articulate and respectful, and he told me he’d been an idiot when he was younger,” Nelsen said. Even so, Nelsen said, “I was still apprehensive.”

America’s unemployment rate is at a 17-year low — at 4.1 percent — and JPMorgan predicts it could fall to 3.4 percent this year, the lowest level since the 1969. Businesses large and small complain they can’t find workers, especially ones willing to do the arduous labor of landscaping, construction or stocking shelves. Companies have traditionally sought out immigrant labor to fill some of these jobs, but the Trump administration is aggressively going after businesses that use undocumented immigrants. In this political and economic environment, big companies like Walmart and Koch Industries and smaller ones like Pioneer Overhead Door are turning to an underutilized source of labor: inmates and the formerly incarcerated.

It’s a large, mostly untapped pool of workers: Roughly 20 million Americans have been convicted of a felony, according to research by University of Georgia Professor Sarah Shannon and her colleagues.

But even if the need for workers is great and attitudes are shifting, it’s not an easy decision. On his desk in a big warehouse a few blocks from the Las Vegas Strip, Nelsen has statues of saints and the Virgin Mary. A practicing Catholic, he asked friends whether he should hire a Casa Grande inmate. Almost everyone said yes, he should offer a chance of redemption. Among fellow business owners, opinions were mixed.

Nelsen has five workers who hang the garage doors at homes and commercial facilities such as warehouses and carwashes. It was a big risk, some said, to take on someone who has been convicted six times for nonviolent burglaries. Nelsen’s wife urged him to take a chance. So he offered Black a job, and Black, who has been in prison for the past nine years, accepted quickly, saying it gave him a “sense of purpose” for the first time in decades.

Black spends his nights locked in a cell, but on weekdays, he wears a dark gray Pioneer Overhead Door uniform with his name on it. Customers don’t know about his past. They only see the quality of the work now. “He’s my best worker,” Nelsen said. “Out of all my technicians, he’s the one I wouldn’t want to lose.”

Some companies ask job applicants immediately if they have ever been convicted of a crime to screen them out, but the ACLU and the NAACP say they have seen a “change of heart” in the past year, with more businesses willing to take a chance on people with criminal histories. “Businesses are beginning to ask: Why did we have such stringent bans?” says Ngozi Ndulue, senior director of criminal justice programs at the NAACP.

Increasingly, business leaders see hiring people with criminal records as the right thing to do for America — and for their companies. Formerly incarcerated workers are often hard-working and loyal, and not looking to jump to another employer. “We’ve hired a lot of people with criminal records who have been good employees,” said Mark Holden, general counsel at Koch Industries. “What someone did on their worst day doesn’t define them forever.”

Black credits Nevada’s work-release program with breaking his “prison mind-set.” He had been in prison twice before for shorter stints that he says didn’t change him. He was released in 2008 with $25 to his name. With no money and few prospects, he went right back to what he knew before, the world of crime and drugs. Within two months, he was caught stealing again.

“I grew up in a very cliche childhood: Broken home. My mom passed away when I was young, and I bounced around a lot. I cared about nothing,” Black says. “I was a career criminal. It took a devastating amount of prison time for me to rethink my position in this world.”

Black has now spent nearly a decade in prison, staying clean from drugs and learning how to be “more thankful” and “not so judgmental.” He meditates and draws in the evenings. When he turned 40, he joined the prison squad that fights wildfires. A year later, he was able to apply for Casa Grande and get into a job orientation class called Turning Point. “I want to be able to look myself in the mirror. I want to be respectable,” Black, now 42, says.

Most of the money he earns goes to pay restitution to people he stole from and to the state of Nevada to cover rent at Casa Grande. But he has saved about $700, which he believes will be life-changing when he gets out of prison.

Black is among the 2.3 million Americans behind bars, about 95 percent of whom will be released. Finding better ways to get people from prison into jobs is a cause that has united conservatives, especially religious and business leaders, with progressives. It has even made it onto President Trump’s agenda.

“Many prisoners end up returning to crime, and they end up returning to prison,” Trump said at a White House event this month on prison reform. “We can help break this vicious cycle through job training.”

Only 45 percent of men released from prison had a job eight months later, according to a 2008 study by the Urban Institute’s Justice Policy Center. There’s a major push to change that now that the economy is far better than it was a decade ago. Some of the most outspoken advocates are conservative power brokers like the Koch brothers and Clay Bennett, owner of the Oklahoma Thunder basketball team. Last summer, Bennett invited ACLU fellow Megan Marcelin to speak to a large gathering of Oklahoma business executives to make the case for hiring people with criminal pasts. She found a receptive audience.

“This would never have happened a year ago,” says Marcelin, who is now with JustLeadershipUSA, a criminal justice reform advocacy group. “Businesses and corporations on the right are really playing a role in getting behind this issue.”

Many conservatives, including Trump, see prison-to-job initiatives as part of a larger goal of reducing prison and welfare costs and lowering unemployment.

Walmart and Koch Industries no longer ask about criminal histories on their job applications. That small step has given many more people a chance to get in front of a hiring manager. Walmart and Koch don’t do a full background check until the final stages of the hiring process, when they already have a sense of an applicant.

This is part of a broader movement known as “ban the box,” a reference to removing the check-box question on applications.

President Barack Obama banned the box for most federal government jobs. A grass-roots movement has advocated for changes in state laws as well. “It’s common sense: We want former prisoners to be able to support themselves,” says Beth Avery, a staff attorney at the National Employment Law Project. “That’s good for everyone in the long run. It reduces recidivism and public spending on incarceration.”

The federal government doesn’t track how many people with criminal histories have been hired across the country. But studies of cities such as Minneapolis that have banned the box found that more than 50 percent of people whose applications had been flagged with “concern” because of a prior conviction were hired after the law changed.

Nelsen says he’s become more aware of what these reforms can do for society — and for businesses.

“I was originally negative on Casa Grande,” Nelson said. “Now I’m one of the biggest beneficiaries of it.”

The ACLU and Koch Industries are also pushing for people with criminal pasts to be able to get state licenses to do everything from plumbing to being makeup artists to being security guards. Nearly 30 percent of U.S. jobs require a state license, according to the Brookings Institution, but some states prevent felons from getting licenses.

Another hurdle that remains is racial prejudice. Studies have found it’s twice as easy for white inmates and formerly incarcerated Caucasians to get jobs than for African Americans. Research by economists at the University of Virginia and the University of Oregon last year found that banning the box caused some employers to discriminate against African Americans and Latinos because hiring managers made assumptions about who was more likely to have a criminal record.

Black feels lucky to be working again and is preparing for a parole hearing in February. He has been mentoring a 20-year-old named Eric Fernandez, who recently joined Pioneer Overhead Door. Black showed him what tools to buy and taught him all the different types of garage door springs. In exchange, Fernandez drives the truck, since Black can’t get his driver’s license back yet.

What’s it like to be working with Black? Fernandez shrugs, signaling he hasn’t given it much thought.

“He’s pretty funny,” Fernandez says. He looks over at Black and they laugh in unison, pausing for a few seconds in the Las Vegas heat before getting back to work.



Companies that hire felons



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More Firms Willing To Employ 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 | Jobs for Felons | Jobs For People That Have Felonies | Jobs For People With A Criminal Record | Firms Willing to Hire Felons | Felon Friendly



Eric Mayo felons

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Monday, January 8, 2018

Jobs for Felons: Occupational licensing locks too many Americans out of the job market

Occupational licensing locks too many Americans out of the job market


BY NILA BALA, OPINION CONTRIBUTOR, the Hill

   Occupational licensing locks too many Americans out of the job market
Nearly one out of three Americans has a record in the criminal justice system and, as a result, faces a difficult road to becoming employed. Adding to their woes is the fact that many jobs — including interior designer, barber, pest control applicator and fire alarm installer — require some kind of occupational license.

Unfortunately, many states still deny licenses for individuals with criminal convictions, even when those convictions are decades old or relatively minor. The good news? Several states and cities across the country are poised to become leaders in reforming the law.

The number of jobs requiring occupational licenses has ballooned in the last 50 years. Occupational licensing has expanded from covering five percent of the workforce in the 1950s to 30 percent today. In recent years, occupational licenses have come under fire for creating unnecessary barriers to work without any measurable gains in safety or quality of services provided to the public.

Counter to what many believe, locking released individuals out of job opportunities is bad policy — it hurts returning citizens, our economy and public safety. Employment upon release is one of the key indicators in predicting whether individuals will commit another crime, and the sooner ex-offenders are employed, the less likely they will be to commit future crimes. States that consider license applications from returning citizens are demonstrably safer. In states willing to consider applications from ex-felons, the recidivism rate declined by 4.2 percent; in the 29 states where licensing boards outright reject applications from ex-felons, the recidivism rate actually rose by 9.4 percent.


Other states — such as Georgia, Illinois and Kentucky — have already passed measures to limit the consideration of criminal records in the licensing process. In Illinois, for instance, State Rep. Marcus Evans Jr. sponsored a law last year that forbade the state licensing department from disqualifying potential funeral directors, roofers, barbers, cosmetologists, hair braiders and nail technicians solely because of a criminal conviction — unless the conviction directly relates to the job.

Similarly, the D.C. Committee is currently considering an amendment to permit licensing boards to consider only convictions directly related to the job. The Removing Barriers to Occupational Licenses Amendment Act Of 2017 would also give the returning citizen an opportunity to provide mitigating evidence.

 The current language in D.C. guiding licensing boards is vague, denying any applicant whose offense “bears directly on the fitness of the person to be licensed.” As Councilman Charles Allen, one of the sponsors of the bill, pointed out at the Nov. 28 committee hearing that the law provides “no explanation of what fitness means, or how it should be determined.” Society would be better served with a narrowly tailored law that provides clarity to applicants and licensing boards alike.

Not surprisingly, professional associations are uncomfortable with licensing reforms. The Boards of Chiropractic, Medicine, Nursing, Respiratory Care and Dentistry all opposed the D.C. bill. The main argument supplied was that, without a review of an individual’s entire record, public safety would be harmed.

However, the proposed amendment would not prevent licensing boards from considering convictions directly relevant to the occupation in question. None of the professional associations opposed to the bill explained why considering irrelevant information would protect the public.

Additionally, all of the professional associations argued that very few applicants, even those who have had contact with the criminal justice system, are denied licenses. However, many individuals with criminal records do not even apply for licensure because they believe their past conviction is an immediate disqualification. This is why a key component of a law removing barriers to licensing should be education and publication — provisions that are not currently contained in the bill’s language.

The current laws are not conducive to public safety and deny returning citizens the dignity of work — the pride in making a living and providing for their family. Preventing a large swath of individuals from obtaining occupational licenses simply because of prior contact with the criminal justice system is bad policy. Those who have paid their debts to society deserve at least a fighting chance to obtain occupational licenses.

Nila Bala is a senior fellow for criminal justice policy at the R Street Institute, a nonprofit group dedicated to promoting limited government in Washington, D.C.


Jobs for Felons: Occupational licensing locks too many Americans out of the job market


Jobs for Felons: Occupational licensing locks too many Americans out of the job market


  Occupational licensing locks too many Americans out of the job market


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 | Jobs for Felons | Jobs For People That Have Felonies | Jobs For People With A Criminal Record | High Paying Jobs for felons | Jobs felons can get | Occupational Licenses for Felons



Eric Mayo

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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

How Felons Can Land Jobs Today

How Felons Can Land Jobs Today


How Felons Can Land Jobs Today
Finding a job in this day and age is different than it was even five years ago.  The computer age has changed the way we look for and apply for jobs.  Felons looking for jobs face different challenges than other job seekers.  By using some different techniques, felons can dramatically increase their job opportunities.  Take a look at these tips and your next job will not be far away.

Get out and Network

Asking people you already know about jobs that may be open is called networking.  This is the single most powerful way to get job leads.  In fact, most people get their jobs this way.  Networking is works so well because many employers will take a good a look at people who are referred to them.

How many categories of people do you know?  This a big group of people who can provide you with a lot of quality job leads.

Friends
People in the neighborhood
How Felons can Land Jobs TodayParole/probation officers
Relatives
Members of your worship group (especially religious leaders)
Former co- workers
Other Former Inmates
Former teachers
Former employers
Classmates
Casual acquaintances
People you do business with (Barber, landlord, doctors)


This is eleven categories of people.  Let's say you got five job leads from people in each category. That is a possible 55 high quality leads for jobs.  That would be a great start for your job search.  This the single most powerful way to get a job and it how most people find jobs

Get a Professional Looking Email

How Felons Can Land Jobs Today
Your email address should have a professional look.  Employers will probably take more seriously if you have a professional looking email address.  You may want to one that uses your first and last name separated by a period, followed by the two numbers of your date of birth  ex: richard.jenkins21@mail.com


Clean Up Your Social Media

How Felons Can Land Jobs Today
Clean up your social media
With the popularity of social media, it would be difficult to find a lot of people who are not using some form of it. More and more, employers are checking social media pages to get a better idea of
who they are considering.  So take a good look at your social media profile or page.  Is there anything that leave a bad taste of an employer's mouth?  You may want to remove it.  That means any objectionable pictures, posts or videos.

Apply for Every Job You are Qualified for

How felons can land jobs today
Too many felons miss out on jobs simply because they don't apply.  Felons get jobs everyday.  Don't assume that you will not be hired because you have a record.  Never talk yourself out of a job.  What you must understand that the numbers on on your side when it comes to getting a job with a criminal record.  More applications, will lead to more interviews.  More interviews will lead to more opportunities to get hired.  Make a goal of a certain number applications each week and stick to it. Every application you fill out will take you one step closer to getting a job.

Get Professional Looking Interview Clothing

The choice of clothing you wear to an interview will have a huge impact on your chances to get hired.  Remember you are not going to a nightclub or a party.  An interview is a business meeting and you should look like you are ready for business.  Your clothes will create an image or perception of the type of person you are, so choosing your look is critical to presenting yourself as a professional.  It doesn't matter what position you apply for, you should present yourself as a professional.

Men

Men should should wear a dark suit, a light shirt, a tie and shoes that can be shined.  If a suit is
How Felons Can Land Jobs Today
unavailable, dark slacks, light colored shirt, a tie and once again, shoes that can be shined.

Women

The ideal look is a classic business suit (either slacks or skirt,) a light colored blouse and coordinated shoes with a medium or low heel.  Earrings should be small. Nail polish and makeup should be natural looking and tasteful.

Not everyone has clothing like described above, but it is important to get them.  How you look will definitely influence an employer.  If finances are an issue, you may want to look into thrift stores to find appropriate interview clothing.  At thrift stores you will find suits, slacks, shirts, ties and shoes at very affordable prices.

Need Interview Clothes? Ex offenders and Felons Should try Thrift Stores

No matter where you find your clothing, clean and neatly pressed clothing will give you the professional look and help you make a good impression.

When looking for a job, dress like you are going to an interview

I encourage ex-offenders and felons to dress like you are going on an interview whenever you go out filling out applications.  You never know who you are going to meet on your job search.  It's always better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one, than to have an opportunity and not be prepared.

Make a list of your skills 

How Felons Can Land Jobs Today
Make a list of all of your skills and be able to talk about each one.  Make a list your skills and practice talking about them.  The better you can explain you value, the better your chances to get hired. The skills you should focus on are:



Work-specific Skills

These are skills that were acquired by working at a particular jobs.  Can you paint, cook, use tools or perform other types of work?  The skills you used to perform on a job are all examples of work-specific skills.

Transferable Skills

These are skills that can be taken from one type of job and used in other types of work.  Typing, use of office equipment, and telephone skills are all examples of transferable skills.

Personal Skills

These are skills that are part of your personality that helps you do other things well.  Are you a punctual person?  Do you work well under pressure?  Do you work well with customers?  These are all personal skills.

These are three types of skills you can sell to an employer.  If you can easily talk about your skills and how they can benefit an employer, you can get job, even with a criminal record

Follow Up

Follow up with everyone you meet on your job search.  If you fill out an application, find out the name and phone number of the hiring person.  If you get an interview, always get the business card of the person you interview with. The business card will have the interviewer's name, title, address, phone number  and email address.  Right after the interview, you may want to send a thank you email.  If you really want to stand out, you could even send a thank you card.

Get Good References

Having a few good references may be the difference that could get you hired. Have a list reputable who would say something positive about you make a list of five great references.  A reference may look like this:
How Felons Can Land Jobs Today
Mr. David O'Bannion
Vice President, Marketing
XYZ Company
922 N. Bank St.
Chicago, IL 60610
312-555-3222

References should never be included on your resume.  They should be listed on a separate sheet and only be submitted upon request.  Before you use anyone as a reference, you should ask their permission.

Use your One-stop Career Center

How Felons Can Land Jobs Today
Every ex-offender or felon looking for a job should visit their local One-stop Career Center.  You will find many resources that can help you find a job or get training for a new career.  You may get personal assistance from trained employment counselors.  You can get help writing a resume, learn interviewing techniques and find lists of open jobs in your community.  Click this link to find your local One-stop Career Center  One-stop Career  Centers



How felons can land jobs today



 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 | Jobs for Felons | Jobs For People That Have Felonies | Jobs For People With A Criminal Record | One-stop Career Center | Real Jobs for Felons

Eric Mayo

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