September 19, 2009 in Features

See job services for ex-offenders

Kathy Mitchell/Marcy Sugar
 

Dear Annie: My nephew was involved in a robbery when he was only 19 and paid for it with 10 years of his life. While he was incarcerated, he got his GED and took various classes to prepare himself for a possible job opportunity upon his release. He was discharged two years ago and has been a model citizen since. He’s tried everything to find work, but no one will hire him.

He has taken placement tests for apprentice jobs (and scored very well). It’s always the same – every company requires a background check, and once they see his record, he is not even given a chance.

I know times are hard, but he is willing to do any minimum wage job just to feed himself. He has gone to local places like Urban League, United Way and temp services, and still no luck. He finally got an interview to join an electrical union, and they turned him down because he had no job experience. But how can he get it?

My nephew lives in his car. What are people in his circumstances supposed to do to earn a legitimate living? It’s no wonder the recidivism rate is so high. Can you suggest anything? – Concerned Aunt

Dear Aunt: Many states have programs to help ex-offenders re-enter the job market, and your nephew might have better luck checking city hall or the governor’s office about local programs. He also can contact the Safer Foundation (saferfoundation.org) at 571 W. Jackson, Chicago, IL 60661; the National Hire Network (hirenetwork.org); the U.S. Dept. of Labor ( www.doleta.gov/ usworkforce/ onestop/onestopmap.cfm) at (877) US2-JOBS (877-872-5627) or servicelocator.org. Goodwill Industries has been known to help with job training and placement, and the military also accepts some enlistees who have a criminal record. We wish him luck.

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to anniesmailbox@ comcast.net.


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