Life outside prison walls is not easy for many ex-convicts. For many, two of the most pressing needs to enable a smooth re-entry into society are difficult to attain. For many former prisoners finding jobs for felons in California or any other state can be a daunting task. Before leaving prison, it is important to start the process of rehabilitation. Part of this process should include:
- Taking courses or learning a skill to better compete in the job market
- Updating resumes and improving interview skills. For ex-felons, the interview will be a crucial part of their job search.
- Start looking for agencies and organizations that work with and help ex-prisoners find work.
How to Start Your Search
There are many steps that a former felon can take to improve the chances of finding employment after being released from prison. Apart from preparing themselves as discussed above, they can start looking for jobs if possible. Being prepared is a big step in the search for a job.
Even though it is hard to find jobs for felons in California, you are not alone. Apart from help from other felons, there are websites and organizations dedicated to helping make things a little bit easier. Some great websites to start with when looking for jobs as a felon are:
- Felony Friendly (http://felonyfriendly.org/services/employment.html#axzz2s8bOShz6)
- Ranker (http://www.ranker.com/list/list-of-companies-that-hire-felons/business-and-company-info): This website lists companies that hire felons. Although there are lots of companies listed, you should not take this to mean that you will definitely get a job. An ex-felon with a criminal history that includes drug trafficking, violence or sex offences will not be employed by some companies.
- America Works (http://americaworks.com/): This organization helps find jobs for ex-offenders as well as other people who have difficulty finding employment.
- Chrysalis of California (http://www.changelives.org/): This non-profit offers training and transitional jobs to those most at risk of not finding employment and so helps them gain needed experience.
- Xamire.com: the Felon Friendly Network (http://xamire.com/): This site provides information on jobs, housing and other programs for felons to help them make a go at life after prison.
- The Streets Don’t Love You Back (http://thestreetsdontloveyouback.ning.com/page/ex-felon-job-information): This website has a lot of information for the ex-felon as well as a list of palaces that sometimes hire them. It lists felon-friendly employers such as the Salvation Army and the Armed Forces.
- The National Hire Network (http://hirenetwork.org/pdfs/SS_Ex-offenders1.pdf): It not only provides job placement information but also employs ex-convicts as drivers when there is a need.
Some companies will also employ ex-felons if they can qualify for tax credits under the Work Opportunity Tax Credit program (WOTC) (http://smallbusiness.chron.com/tax-breaks-employers-hire-felons-14421.html). This program from the US Department of Labor is actively undertaken by many restaurants to benefit from these tax benefits. To benefit from this credit, however, the employment offer has to be within one year of conviction or release from prison.
California EDD – The California Employment Development Department. This has a lot of different resources that CA residents, including ex–offenders, can use.
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