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"I'm thankful for the opportunity. It's changing my life" - Willie, found his 1st job through Honest

Willie got arrested at a very early age and he was incarcerated for 14 years. Upon release, he had never had a job, which caused a lot of challenges during his job search. Using Honest Jobs, he started working within a month! His ultimate goal is to open his own business where he can give chance to people in similar situations. Hear him tell his story in the video below:

Interview transcript:

What experience do you have with criminal justice system?

Willie: “I went to prison when I was 17 years old. I got a 14 year sentence for robbery. Even right now, I’m still trying to cope with being out and I'm still trying to reintegrate myself mentally. And everything is so computerized now and on a phone. So first thing I had to do is learn how to use a phone, learn how to use the internet, learn how to put in certain applications.”

What was your job searching experience like before and after you found Honest Jobs?

Willie: “Me never having a job before in my life, how do you tell employers that you're 30+, and you've never worked a job in your life? So I was a little shy and maybe a little embarrassed. There's a void from 2008 to 2022. And it's like “What have you been doing? Where have you been?” There's no kind of activity or nothing. I was in the halfway house and one of the guys in the halfway house introduced me to Honest Jobs. It probably took like a month before I started working."

Tell us about your new job!

Willie: “I work at the GAP warehouse, I'm a picker. The pay is $18.25/hr. I work full time, so I get a dental, medical, vision. I like it. So far so good, I like it.”

What are your career goals?

Willie: “I’m also in college. So having a job is for helping to pay my bills. So my main goal in life is I wanna start my own business. Maybe even start a non-profit for people in my shoes. Maybe even hire some employees and give somebody a chance like I was given a chance.”

Would you recommend Honest Jobs to other formerly incarcerated job seekers?

Willie: “Most definitely, most definitely. Before I left the halfway house, I was going around like you would've thought I was the spokesperson for Honest Jobs. I can't say it enough times how much I appreciate it, how much I'm thankful for the opportunity that I found y’all. For the blessing that I just happened to stumble upon y’all. So there are not enough words. Like I said, it's changing my life.”

Do you have a message to employers?

Willie: “To the employers, I would just say to think about if it was you or if it was your brother, your mother, your son or your cousin. Or if it was one of your family members who got out and needed help. And when you are in a position to help them, you would want them to be self-sufficient, you would want them to be independent and to get on their feet. So I just say, try to put yourself in our shoes. It's bad enough that we have to carry that stigma around with us. That's bad enough. And then there's a lot of hard workers that's coming out of prison who really want to just have the opportunity to work. Just give a shot!”



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