John's last interaction with the criminal justice system was in 2001. Despite changing his life in various ways, he was still being rejected for jobs due to past convictions. Using Honest Jobs, he found employment within a month. Hear his story in the video below:
What experience do you have with the criminal justice system?
John: “I have four felonies and they all are theft related. I was in prison three times. I’ve been out since 2001 and I'm still trying to straighten the wreckage of my past out. It was around 22 years ago the last time I ever dealt with it. I've changed my life in various ways. I ended up having to being a single father and having to take care of my son, which had its ups and downs. But that's what broke the cycle for me.”
What was your experience looking for a job before you found Honest Jobs?
John: “Yeah, I made those mistakes and I've changed, and I'm trying to change. 10 years that I could have been doing something else. You know, growing. I know a lot of people that have work history that I don't have. It’s like a permanent mark on your personality, you know? When I was changing jobs, I was trying to get something a little better than dishwasher jobs and I got turned down from some places that do rather extensive background searches. And the whole Indeed thing, it was a big hassle trying to get all the way through, get the process going, and get to stuff that actually hired felons. But the thing with you guys, you went straight to the point. Most of them were like: “Okay, you wanna set up an interview?” It wasn't a lot of playing around.”
What was your experience looking for a job after you found Honest Jobs?
John: “I heard about Honest Jobs through the Second Chance program. They strongly encouraged that I go with Honest Jobs and start with them. I was told that Honest Jobs has places that's already set up where they hire felons. I think I've been dealing with you guys on the internet for about a month. Yeah. I had a good experience with, with you guys.”
Tell us about your new job!
John: “I work for National Western Complex. I got hired on as an event staff. They're paying $17.30 an hour. They do have benefits. It seems like a pretty good job. It’s a good environment and the people seem nice and they have the kind of equipment for the job.”
Would you recommend Honest Jobs to other formerly incarcerated job seekers?
John “Yes, I absolutely would. I think I have already. The stigma of being incarcerated or having a felony has the potential to haunt you your whole life. So any organization that helps, I think it helps not only the offenders or the previous offenders, but it also helps their generations, their children, their whole family. It helps them get back in and contribute to life. It has to affect the recidivism rate. If you're employed, you think less about doing something silly.”
Do you have a message to job seekers with criminal background?
John: “I say that you can't give up on yourself. You're valuable. And just you have to be resilient for the turn downs and be patient and just keep swinging at the process. And stay active in investing in yourself.”
Do you have a message to employers?
John: “They say that mistakes build character, mistakes come through experience, going through the roads. And the thing is, it's fine to hire someone with an exemplary record, but humans are fallible. We make mistakes. Take chances on people. Really look at the turnaround, the effort. The person you have before you is more important than what's on paper.”
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Employers and job seekers can head to www.honestjobs.com to get started.