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

Monday, July 9, 2018

Erasing a criminal past for Felons

Jobs for Felons:  Can I teach with an old Felony?

Jobs for Felons: Can I teach with an old Felony?
I am a Black Man in America in 2018. I am having difficulty getting any employment because of a 1977 felony conviction. Since I got out in 1979, I got my college degree and two teaching licenses in two states-Indiana and Illinois. My “inability” to get employment seems as if this is nothing but a higher form of Jim Crow.

I realize that I am not by myself but this appears so unfair to people that are trying to live a totally new life.  So many people talk about “rehabilitation” but it seems as if it is just talk. I have also been a member of NA and AA for 32 years. I had a drug problem and I knew that if I resumed my habit, I would have returned to the penitentiary. I took care of that first because it was so important to do that.

I taught school for the public schools system for 13 years. I disclosed my felony conviction to the school system and it didn’t pose a problem to the system. Why is it posing a problem now?

I served my time and I have totally changed my life. Will I have to pay for this the rest of my life.  I was 26 years old when this happened and I am now 64 years old.

The law needs to be changed. Once a person serves his/her time that should be the end of it.
I don’t understand how I taught for the school system for 13 years and my background was disclosed.
There also has been no recidivism in my case. I can understand people going back to the penitentiary but I have only gone once. What I have done with my life should matter but it does not.  I always thought that the goal of incarceration was rehabilitation. Is it really?? Incarceration has become a viable business.

People can change their lives. By not allowing someone to change their life is such a grave mistake.
Why shouldn’t I be bitter? I will never give up in what seems as if an uphill battle. Racism is still here. I could care less about having a Black president.

 Jobs for Felons:  Can I teach with an old Felony?


That's quite a story.  I'm not sure why you were let go after so many years even though you disclosed the conviction at the time of your hire.  As for having a Black President, the food he eats doesn't fill my belly.

Jobs for Felons: Can I teach with an old Felony?It's easy to be discouraged and start doubting yourself and society as a whole.  Instead, lets concentrate on some things that perhaps we haven't though about before as alternatives.  Don't give up hope of being a teacher.  In fact, you have already done the hard part.  You have a degree and you are already certified.  You have another very important quality.  You have experience and the wisdom and maturity of an older person.  All you will need now is to find teaching opportunities where your conviction will matter a lot less than it does to the public school system.

There are many alternatives to teaching in the public school system.  In fact I encourage many of my students who are ex-offenders and felons and also have college degrees to pursue teaching as a career.  Let's look at a few options.

Private Schools  - These schools are supported by a private organization or private individuals rather than by the government and therefore may have quite different eligibility requirements.

Career Schools - A career or vocational school is different from a four year college.  Instead of taking four years to get a degree, a vocational school allows students to get specialized training in specific career fields in two years or less.  These schools also require courses in general subjects like math, English and science just like traditional colleges.

Community Colleges - Community colleges, sometimes called junior colleges, are two-year schools that provide affordable education as a pathway to a four-year degree or a particular career.
Community colleges prepare students for jobs that require higher education or workforce training.  Typically community colleges work with employers to develop flexible, affordable and relevant training programs and partner with businesses which meet local commercial and regional economic needs. These colleges also have traditional degree programs.

Charter Schools - Charter schools are independent schools that have received a charter, which is a set of self-written rules and goals which determine how the school will be structured and run. Generally, they are able to organize a school that operates outside the control of the local school district but still funded by local, state, and federal tax money.  Essentially charter schools are free public schools that don't have to follow the same regulations as the local school district.

These are just a few options I can think of just off the top of my head. There maybe a lot more but this is a start.  If you are fortunate enough to get interviews, be prepared to talk about your conviction.  As I tell all of my students in your position, when asked about the conviction, briefly speak about it and how it has changed your thinking and your approach to life.

Focus the conversation on the time that has passed and what you have done since then to improve yourself and how you have used your own experiences to encourage young people not to make the same mistakes that you have.

Just don't let your recent stumble keep you from moving forward.

Best of luck to you.

 Jobs for Felons: Can I teach with an old Felony?

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

Jobs for Felons:  Can I teach with an old Felony?

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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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.  - 
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

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Friday, May 4, 2018

Jobs for Felons: Give former felons a chance to work

J.T. Weis - The Detroit News

Jobs for Felons: Give former felons a chance to work
Picture by By
At Abcor Industries we live out the triple bottom line: people, planet, and profit. This is driven by my faith, which teaches that all people are of equal value, redeemable and entitled to the dignity that God intended when he created us.

After years of working in the corporate world, my desire to live a more meaningful existence continued to grow. With that in mind, entrepreneurship was the path to pursue this goal and I acquired Abcor Industries in Holland, Michigan.

Abcor has the technology for powder coating wood and is leading the drive for innovating higher performing wood materials.

Owning Abcor allows us the freedom to make decisions which improve people’s lives and drive an enterprise that contributes to the betterment of the planet. Additionally, we support important nonprofit entities, institutions and schools.

As a senior manager at publicly traded companies, I wasn’t able to deploy a felon hiring strategy — or consider anyone with a criminal history. With Abcor, we are breaking the stigmas and helping change people’s lives.

More than half of our production employees have been convicted of felonies and have served long sentences, hence repaying their debt to society. My intention is to continue to do everything possible to ensure they are productive members of a dynamic entrepreneurial company.

Productive employment is the leading force in their personal mission to build a new successful life as a responsible tax paying citizen. Productive employment is the leading factor in reducing recidivism. We are an important component of their life recovery. They are a vital part of our success.

Recently, I was invited to a forum on the subject of hiring re-entering citizens. At first, it was very encouraging to see so many human resource executives interested and open to the practice. However, each of the executives had a common theme of being only interested in “light felony” applicants. This was clearly driven by a risk mitigation approach.

Toward the end of the forum, they asked me to opine on their approach. They were surprised by my response that short sentence “light felony” applicants had a higher fallout rate and were more difficult to manage. Those who have served the longer sentences are very motivated, highly loyal and committed to the mission.

Currently, we at Abcor and other employers are urging the Legislature to pass bills currently before the state House Law and Justice Committee that would remove some barriers to employment and require objective reasons for denying parole to low-risk prisoners.

Right now, there are too many who remain incarcerated and present the lowest risk to public safety. The law requires that denying parole to people who present the lowest risk to public safety can only be based on objective reasonings. Subjective parole denial is immoral, and it’s wrong. Not only is it counter to our values, it also wastes millions of taxpayer dollars annually on keeping these low-risk prisoners locked up.

There remains much more the state of Michigan can do to help. It should continue to expand vocational training during incarceration, implement laws and financial benefits for bridging organizations that help the released find employment, housing and transportation. In my view, the Department of Corrections could and should become a powerful force by investing in these systems and have a positive impact on workforce development.

Every year, nearly 10,000 people return from prison to Michigan communities. Many are unable to find employment due to their criminal records, even though many employers face a shortage of available workers. There exists a significant opportunity to do better.

Those in position to do so, should construct systems, laws and enterprises to set the groundwork for personal recovery. There is a major win-win for society available to us all and we need to act upon it.

J.T. Weis is the owner of Abcor Industries in Holland, Michigan.

Companies that hire Felons

From Jail to a Job

Jobs for Felons: Give former felons a chance to work

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 1, 2018

Meet Larry, an ex-offender who got a second chance thanks to a good law

Meet Larry, an ex-offender who got a second chance thanks to a good law
Last year, I wrote a highly critical opinion piece for the Sun-Times about Gov. Bruce Rauner after learning that he had denied clemency for a client of mine.

Given Rauner’s extreme reluctance to grant clemency to ex-offenders, even to those like my client who had gone on to live honest and productive lives for many years, I questioned why anybody would bother to file the petition.

Though I couldn’t  know it at the time, however, that same governor soon would lay the groundwork for my client to earn a second chance. In August 2017, Rauner signed House Bill 2373 into law. This legislation resulted in a significant expansion of the kinds of criminal records a judge can decide to seal from public view.

Last month, as a result of that law, a judge granted my client’s petition to seal his record, closing the book on my client’s addiction-fueled criminal conduct, which began when he was 17 and ended when he was 31.  Today, he is 51.

My client’s story, which he has given me permission to tell as long as I don’t use his real name, reminds us that people who make bad decisions as teens and young adults still can grow into law-abiding, productive members of society. If we don’t start believing in our human capacity to change — to learn from our mistakes — we will fail to see the potential in many of our fellow, returning citizens.

My client, Larry, grew up in Chicago with an alcoholic father. His mother managed apartment buildings. Neither of his parents graduated from high school. Larry himself struggled in school, and was diagnosed with dyslexia in the fifth grade. Once assigned to special ed classes, he was teased and bullied relentlessly.

The summer before Larry entered high school, he started drinking beer. By his freshman year, he was smoking weed and using cocaine. He dropped out of school after his sophomore year. A year later, he was arrested for the first time.

He was charged with felony burglary and sentenced to probation.

In no time at all, Larry had gone from high school dropout to convicted felon. His future did not bode well. It is estimated that more than 70 percent of the men and women in United States prisons did not graduate from high school.

Larry’s next arrest, for residential burglary, occurred while he was still on probation. He was sentenced to prison – the first of two prison stints he would serve before turning 20. Larry’s preferred choice of crime? Breaking into cars, though he wasn’t particularly good at it. He was usually drunk or high when arrested.

In 1990, Larry picked up his fourth — and final — felony conviction. He was spared prison, though, sentenced instead to an intensive, in-patient drug treatment.

Larry struggled with his sobriety for another 10 years. But a health scare in 2000 finally convinced him to stop drinking and drugging.

Today, Larry takes his sobriety seriously. He has been sober for nearly 18 years. He attends Alcoholics Anonymous meetings three times a week.

A couple of years ago, he met his wife at an AA meeting. With her encouragement and support, he started meeting with a literacy tutor. At the time, his reading comprehension was that of a second grader. Today, he can read at a fifth-grade level.

So there you have it: Larry is sober. He can read a bit better. And he always manages to work for a living, despite his significant educational deficits. The jobs he has found, such as valet parking attendant, don’t pay well, but they are honorable and he has gotten by.

I met Larry and his wife in 2015 and filed his clemency petition in 2016. While the petition was pending, Larry was selected to be a participant in the CTA’s Second Chance Program, cleaning buses and rail cars. Recently, he completed his second full year in the program.

Earlier this year, shortly before a judge granted his petition to seal his criminal record — made possible by the law Rauner signed — Larry learned that his name has been added to the CTA’s hire list.

Over the years, Larry has learned not to give up on himself. And today, he says at age 51, he feels like a “different man.”

He’s a man of few words, but on the day after the judge granted his petition, he called me to say thanks.

How did he feel?

“Really, really good,” Larry said with a chuckle. “Like I never got in trouble before, though I know I did.”

Ina R. Silvergleid is a Chicago attorney and owner of A Bridge Forward LLC. She specializes in helping people with a criminal background eliminate barriers to employment, professional licensing and housing.

Companies that hire Felons

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Eric Mayo

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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Jobs for Felons: How the Army Recruits Straight Out of Prisons

How the Army Recruits Straight Out of Prisons


How the Army Recruits Straight Out of Prisons

There is one big difference between the second annual Second Chance Job Fair and a ‘regular’ employment expo. Here, everyone looking for work had been to jail.

As job fairs go, this one didn’t look much different from any other. Men and women of various ages wandered from booth to booth in business attire, filling out applications and handing out resumes. A photographer was set up on one side of the room, taking professional pictures the job seekers could use on their LinkedIn pages.
However, there was one big difference between this, the second annual Second Chance Job Fair, and a “regular” employment expo. Here, everyone looking for work had been to jail.
Twenty-three employers had been invited by the organizers, M.A.D.E. Transitional Services, a Rockland County-based reentry organization; only a handful showed up. Unibody Fitness, a Brooklyn personal training business run by ex-offenders, had a table set up, and a representative from People Ready, the temp agency, was on hand. Tarik Greene, M.A.D.E.’s co-founder and deputy executive director, said Shake Shack came last year, but didn’t make it this time.
A volunteer sat at a card table offering resume advice.
“There are too many people saying, ‘I’ll take anything,’” she said. “It tells me they haven’t had an opportunity to think expansively; how will they tell their own story?”
If that story happened to involve joining the military, they’d be in luck. Along the far wall, two U.S. Army recruiters sat quietly, handing out brochures to the smattering of job seekers who slowed down long enough to take one. Unlike most employers, who are normally solicited by M.A.D.E., Greene said the Army in fact reached out to them this year and asked to attend.

“You can have one non-violent felony as an adult,” one of the recruiters, Staff Sergeant Jeffrey Boswell, told The Daily Beast. “Some of the best and most capable candidates we get require a waiver.”

The current pool of qualified applicants from which the Army can recruit is the shallowest in over a decade, with just a quarter of all 17 to 24 year-olds eligible to join and only one in eight willing to. Stretched thinner than it’s been in years, with a mandate to grow by 8.500 soldiers under the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, the Army is granting so-called “moral waivers” to people it would likely turn away under normal conditions, including convicted felons.
Recruitment standards in the U.S. military are “elastic, to put it mildly, depending on need,” according to retired Army Colonel Andrew Bacevich, who graduated from, and later taught at, West Point.
“When recruits are hard to come by, standards previously considered sacrosanct get waived,” Bacevich told The Daily Beast. “Offering waivers to convicted felons suggests that the services—probably the army in particular—are struggling to meet their quotas of warm and willing bodies. As to whether military service offers a way to turn your life around, there's no easy answer. For some, sure. For others, it's probably a dumb idea for the individual and for the service.”
The vagaries of the job market have a notable impact on the use of moral waivers, said Kate Germano, who commanded the Marine Corps’ 4th Recruit Battalion at Parris Island before retiring as a Lt. Colonel in 2016.
“It’s becoming harder for all of the services to make their recruiting goals; this is what happens anytime conditions favor the kids just graduating high school or college,” Germano told The Daily Beast. “But if we just open the floodgates without looking at the whole person because we’re worried about the economy being strong and not making mission, that’s when things become problematic.”
“The United States Army does not actively seek individuals who require conduct waivers,” Army spokesperson Lt. Nina Hill told The Daily Beast in a statement. “We seek individuals who have the ability to meet all of our cognitive, physical and moral qualifications and can successfully complete a term of service. A small percent of new recruits meet the requirements to join the Army with a conduct waiver. We only consider conduct waivers for individuals who are otherwise fully qualified and have met prescribed waiting periods that prove rehabilitation has occurred. If an individual requests a conduct waiver for a past offense, factors such as the nature of offense, how long ago the offense occurred, and the overall number of infractions, are critical in determining suitability for service. All new recruits must meet Department of Defense accessions standards.”
Moral waivers are given out on a case-by-case basis, and as Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Mark Milley said last year, “considering a waiver is not the same as granting a waiver.”
Still, between 2003 and 2006, the military allowed 4,230 convicted felons to enlist by granting them moral waivers. In 2006 and 2007, waivers were given to three applicants with manslaughter convictions; 11 who had been convicted of arson; 142 who had been convicted on burglary charges; seven with convictions for sex crimes; three with convictions for making terrorist threats, including bomb threats; and one with a conviction for kidnapping. In 2008, the Army issued 372 waivers for felony convictions, down from 511 the year before. In 2009, the Army granted 220 waivers for “Major Misconduct (Conviction),” seven in 2010, and none between 2011-2014.  
One in three American adults—70 million people—have a criminal conviction. 650,000 people are released from prison in the United States each year, and three in four of them are unable to find a job during the first year they’re out.
“I don’t know how many ex-prisoners would want to do it, but the military can be a good place to get your life together,” said Brian DiMarco, a NYC wine and liquor importer who spent three years “finding himself” in the Navy after high school. “It can be a little bit like trading one form of prison for another, but at least the military gives you free healthcare for life.”
Peter Mansoor, a retired Army colonel who served as executive officer to General David Petraeus in Iraq and now teaches military history at Ohio State, isn’t particularly keen on moral waivers but is pragmatic about their existence.
“In general it’s better if the military does not grant moral waivers because we know that on average, people who have had offenses in their past don’t do as well with discipline in the military,” Mansoor told The Daily Beast. “That being said, for those that do join having received a moral waiver, some of them do turn their lives around and it’s a great thing for those people. I’m just not sure that we want to devise military policy on that basis, though.”
When she was on recruiting duty, Kate Germano’s team analyzed situation data and found a high correlation between people with felony waivers and those who didn’t complete basic training. Yet, there are still some good candidates in there. It’s just a matter of identifying them, she explained.
“I’m still in touch today with people I took a chance on, so it does work,” said Germano. “But if we’re not looking at both the whole person and the systems we have in place to make sure they’re committed, that’s how you end up with those horror stories.”
Plenty of recruits given moral waivers turn out to be model soldiers. But there are a fair number of horror stories, and they’re not hard to find. In 2005, the Army accepted recruit Steven Dale Green under a moral waiver for three past convictions (underage alcohol possession, drug possession, and fighting). The following year, while deployed to Iraq, Green and four other soldiers gang-raped 14-year-old Abeer Qassim al-Janabi, murdered her and her family, then burned the bodies. A year after that, Washington Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis joined the service despite being arrested on a gun charge in 2004.
The successes, on the other hand, get far less attention.
Nasser Hempel spent 11 years behind bars for his role in a 1991 armed robbery outside a Houston nightclub. Shortly after he was released in 2002, Hempel took a trip to South Padre Island with some friends for Spring Break. The Army had an obstacle course set up, and Hempel decided to give it a try.
“I was working for Viacom at the time, hanging their billboards, so I did a lot of climbing on a daily basis,” Hempel told The Daily Beast. “Me being a little cocky, I asked one of the recruiters who had the fastest time. He pointed to this guy from the 10th Mountain Division, a hotshot. I said, ‘I’m gonna beat your time.’ And I beat his time.”
Impressed, the recruiters asked Hempel if he had ever considered joining the Army. He replied that he had just gotten out of prison—it had been less than a year—and was afraid he wouldn’t qualify. You might with a moral waiver, the recruiters told him.
Like most people who have done significant amounts of time, finding his footing again on the outside was difficult for Hempel. When life began to hit him “like a sledgehammer,” Hempel decided to go to his local recruiting office and see what his options were. He was 33 years old.
The recruiter he spoke with seemed to lose interest when Hempel revealed his criminal history. But another one sitting nearby overheard their conversation and took an interest in Hempel, offering to help guide him through the moral waiver process. They began the paperwork, and eight months later, the day after Hempel got off parole he signed his Army contract, becoming one of 1,002 incoming recruits that year with felony records.
After basic training, Hempel would ship out for back-to-back tours in Iraq and Afghanistan with the 808th Engineering Company. He left the Army and returned to Houston five years ago, where he now runs a bootcamp-style gym.
“There’s been some collateral damage,” said Hempel, choking up. “I got blown up three times. I ended up getting divorced. There was a time when I got back that I was borderline homeless. It was a rough time but to this day I still look back and say, ‘I wouldn’t change a thing.’”
There are studies that show a correlation between pre-service criminal history and in-service misconduct. Others have found service members with moral waivers are more likely to complete their terms of service than those accepted without them. A more accurate picture only comes into focus upon a more granular analysis of the available data. One study found the correlation between unsuitability discharges and whether or not a recruit graduated from high school to be significantly stronger than having been issued a moral waiver.
“Thus, unless we are prepared to say that, across the board, non-graduates make bad troops, we should not say that ex-offenders cannot make good ones,” wrote legal scholar Michael Boucai in his 2007 study, “‘Balancing Your Strengths Against Your Felonies’: Considerations for Military Recruitment of Ex-Offenders.”
Of course, the absence of a criminal record doesn’t always mean an absence of criminal behavior. While the rate of criminal offenses is pretty evenly distributed across the general population, those who wind up getting charged with those crimes is not, explained Boucai, now a professor at the University of Buffalo School of Law.
“If the question is how many people in the Armed Forces have smoked marijuana at some point, you’ll get a pretty good cross-section across all races,” Boucai told The Daily Beast. “But if the question is how many people have smoked marijuana and have some sort of criminal record for it, that’s going to be overwhelmingly black and brown. The idea that we’re letting in people who are morally bad is based on the criminal record, which is a record of encounters with the criminal justice system. In reality, it’s very often not telling us who has actually committed an offense.”
According to Boucai, bringing ex-offenders into the military is not only good for the offenders themselves but also a smart investment for the population at large, by allowing offenders to restart their lives when the bulk of the private sector has all but discarded them.
Right now, there exists a “de facto ex-offender recruitment policy” in the US military, maintains Boucai. Recruiters need to hit their targets when the service needs bodies, often meaning, Boucai maintains, that violations are ignored, applicants are told to omit negative information, and background checks are left incomplete.
Each of the services has different standards and approval rates when it comes to waivers. To those who receive them, moral waivers are for the most part presented as an exception, not the rule. But, contends Boucai, many problems related to ex-offenders in the service might be traced back to this system of “winks and nods,” rather than simply acknowledging the fact that the military ranks include a certain number of people with checkered pasts, says Boucai. (“People should understand that the majority of ex-offenders, when offered a job, make good employees,” former NYC Corrections Commissioner Martin Horn told The Daily Beast, “and it undermines civil society when we ostracize them.”)
According to a 2013 Army War College Strategy Research Project by Lt. Colonel John Haefner, informed leadership could pay closer attention to recruits who enlisted under moral waivers—not just to steer them away from trouble, but to be better prepared for other issues that could arise, such as the fact that males with a criminal conviction are 200 percent more likely to attempt suicide than those without.
However, privacy laws prohibit commanders from knowing which soldiers under their supervision have records or what’s in their criminal histories.
Nevertheless, if a recruiter has adequately tested an applicant’s commitment to joining the military before they ship out to boot camp, the higher-ups don’t need to know about their pasts, said Kate Germano. What’s important, she maintains, is doing proper due diligence on people from the very beginning to “make sure they’re a good fit for the service and the service is a good fit for them.”
As the Second Chance Job Fair wound down, Staff Sgt. Boswell, the recruiter, said he was feeling cautiously optimistic.
“I think prison is kind of good preparation for the Army, in a way,” he said. “You have to be mentally tough in the Army, you also have to be mentally tough in prison.”
Boswell’s partner, Staff Sergeant Minji Hwang, explained that people with criminal histories tend to be “really motivated when they’re with us,” because they have a lot to prove, as well as a lot to lose. Plus, she added, Army benefits are really, really good.
The two may not have broken any recruiting records that day, though they emphasized that that wasn’t really the point.
“We didn’t come here expecting to recruit dozens of people,” Boswell said, “but we definitely got two or three that we can help.”

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

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Eric Mayo

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Monday, April 16, 2018

Jobs for Felons: Top Five Ways for Ex-offenders and Felons to Find Jobs

 Jobs for Felons:  Top Five Ways for Ex-offenders and Felons to Find Jobs

In Search of the Felon-Friendly Workplace

When inmates are released, most hope they will never face incarceration again.  One sure way to increase the odds of success is to find stable employment as soon as possible.  I have been helping ex-offenders and felons get jobs for many years and I have found some really good ways that people with criminal records can get hired.  I am sharing the top five ways here:

Temporary Agencies - Temporary employment agencies are one the best ways for a felon to get a job.  Many companies turn to temp agencies as a way to keep their businesses running.  Often when an employer finds that a temporary employer has a good work ethic and fits well the job is offered permanently.  The key for ex-offenders and felons applying for temporary work is to apply to local independent agencies rather than large corporate agencies.  The larger companies often have policies that are set in their corporate offices that prohibit the hiring of those with criminal records.  Local independent agencies can employ anyone they feel they can place regardless of whether they have a record or not.  Grab you local telephone book and make of list of temp agencies to visit and fill out applications just like you would any other employer.

Moving Companies, Furniture and Appliance Retailers - Moving companies and stores that sell large appliances and furniture often are looking for strong capable people who can move large items.  Often criminal records are of little importance if they can find a dependable person who can get the job done by delivering goods safe and sound to customers.

Large Retail Stores - When you think of large retail stores like Target, Wal-Mart or you local supermarket you think of cashiers and department salespeople.  What few people think about are the unseen people who help to keep the store running.  There are people who clean the floors, stock the shelves and unload trucks.  The reason we rarely see these people is because they work overnight.  Not everyone is cut out to work the overnight shift.  Often it is hard for people to work that shift.  Because of this, there are often openings for people who can do a good job on the overnight crew.  Contact your local large retail store or supermarket to find out if there are any openings on the overnight shift.

Property Managers - Many apartment and condominium communities are manage by property mangers who keep everything looking nice for the residents. Every property manager has a staff at every property who does the work necessary to maintain these communities.  There are often openings for people who can do minor repairs, painting and general cleaning.  Many of these communities have the property manger's name on the signs at the entrances.  Contact them to inquire about any open positions

Restaurants - Every restaurant is in need of people who are dependable and can do a variety of jobs. Dish washing, filling ice stations, and helping the kitchen, bar and wait staff are just a few of the duties of the kitchen utility person.  If you can get to work on time and have a passion for serving guests, there are many jobs available.  Make a list of restaurants in your area and call each one to see if there are positions available.  You can cover a lot more ground on the telephone than you can on foot.

Ex-offenders and felons are hired everyday.  There are jobs to be had if you are willing to put in the work to find them and prepare yourself to show employers that you will be a great employee.  Best of luck!

Eric Mayo

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

Jobs for Ex-offenders and Felons: Ten Steps to Getting a Job with a Criminal Record

Jobs for Felons: Immediate Jobs for Ex-offenders and Felons

Jobs for Felons:  Using Temp Agencies


Jobs for Felons:  Top Five Ways for Ex-offenders and Felons to Find Jobs

Jobs for Felons: Top Five Ways for Ex-offenders and Felons to Find Jobs

Jobs for Felons:  Top Five Ways for Ex-offenders and Felons to Find Jobs

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 Criminal Records 

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Friday, April 6, 2018

Jobs for Felons: Target pays $3.7 million to settle lawsuit over racial disparity in use of criminal background checks

Claims of racial disparity in how criminal background checks are used led to $3.7M class-action settlement. 

Target pays $3.7 million to settle lawsuit over racial disparity in use of criminal background checks
By Kavita Kumar Star Tribune

Target Corp. has agreed to pay $3.7 million to settle a lawsuit over concerns that the way it uses criminal background checks as part of the hiring process has disproportionately hurt black and Latino applicants.

“Target’s background check policy was out of step with best practices and harmful to many qualified applicants who deserved a fair shot at a good job,” said Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, which worked on the case. “Criminal background information can be a legitimate tool for screening job applicants, but only when appropriately linked to relevant questions such as how long ago the offense occurred and whether it was a nonviolent or misdemeanor offense.”

As part of the settlement of the class-action complaint, independent consultants will recommend changes to Target’s current screening guidelines. For example, they will come up with a list of convictions that are not considered job-related and should not disqualify a person from a particular position. They will also review the company’s appeals process that offers candidates a chance to show evidence of rehabilitation.

“We’re glad to resolve this and move forward,” the Minneapolis-based retailer said in a
Target pays $3.7 million to settle lawsuit over racial disparity in use of criminal background checks
statement. “At Target, we have a number of measures in place to ensure we’re fair and equitable in our hiring practices. … And in hiring, like the rest of our business, we hold diversity and inclusion as core values and strive to give everyone access to the same opportunities.”

Maurice Emsellem, program director with advocacy group National Employment Law Project, said this is one of the largest settlements of its kind and will likely provide a model for other employers as they look to adopt better hiring practices and policies.

In 2016, the U.S. Census Bureau agreed to pay $15 million to settle a similar class-action suit that involved an estimated 450,000 black and Latino applicants who may have been passed over for jobs because of background-check practices.

“Employers are now way more tuned into the laws and policies that encourage them to create more fair practices to hire people with records,” Emsellem said. “But there’s still plenty of big employers and small employers who have a long way to go to clean up their policies.”

As part of the settlement, which was filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in New York, black and Latino applicants who were denied employment from a Target store because of a criminal-background check since May 2006 will be eligible for priority hiring or interviewing for current open positions. Alternately, they can seek a financial award of up to $1,000.

Target is also giving $600,000 to five organizations that work to help individuals with criminal backgrounds find employment: AccessAbility’s Career & Educational Pathways program and RS Eden in Minnesota, Center for Employment Opportunities and the Fortune Society in New York, and A New Way of Life Reentry Project in California.

In 2016, Target was among the companies that signed on to a White House pledge that encouraged employers to eliminate unnecessary barriers facing applicants with criminal records.

Like many major employers, Target started using criminal background checks as part of its hiring process more than a decade ago. The retailer, which employs about 345,000 workers and is among the nation’s largest employers, used to ask job applicants about their criminal history on the initial application form.

But as part of the so-called “Ban the Box” movement, critics complained that such screening at the outset made it difficult for ex-offenders to get jobs even if their offenses were from when they were young or were not pertinent to the positions for which they were applying.

In 2013, Minnesota passed a law barring private employers from asking about criminal history on application forms. The following year, Target removed that question from its applications nationwide.

“Now, we gather criminal background information in the final stages of the hiring process,” Target said in a statement. “This ensures individuals are considered for employment based on their qualifications, interview and availability.”

However, the company said it still believes it’s important to consider conviction history.

“Individuals are given an opportunity to explain their criminal history and provide information about the circumstances, mitigating factors, good conduct and rehabilitation,” the company said. “We exclude applicants whose criminal histories could pose a risk to our guests, team members or property, and design our process to treat all applicants fairly while maintaining a safe and secure working and shopping environment for team members and guests.”

According to the lawsuit, Target’s policies mandated automatic rejection of applicants for broad categories of misdemeanors and felonies such as violence, theft and controlled substances convictions within seven years of applying. If an application required further review, it was forwarded to Target’s human resources division, which used its discretion to make a final determination “rather than apply any objective or validated measures,” the complaint said.

Such a screening process imported “the racial and ethnic disparities that exist in the criminal justice system into the employment process, thereby multiplying the negative impact on African-American and Latino job applicants,” the lawsuit said, noting that those groups are arrested and incarcerated at rates much higher than whites.

The plaintiffs in the case included Carnella Times, a 47-year-old black woman who applied for an overnight stocker position at a Target store in Connecticut in 2006. She was disqualified because of two misdemeanor convictions from 10 years earlier. The following year, she filed a discrimination charge with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which issued her a right to sue in 2015 after years of investigation.

Another plaintiff was Erving Smith, a 40-year-old black man who applied for a stocker position at a store in Pittsburgh in 2014. He was denied the job because of a drug-related felony conviction from 2004.

Target pays $3.7 million to settle lawsuit over racial disparity in use of criminal background checks

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

Target pays $3.7 million to settle lawsuit over racial disparity in use of criminal background checks

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 | Background Checks | Ban the Box

Eric Mayo

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