'Second Chance Job Fair' Helps People with Criminal Records Find Jobs

One of the most difficult of the many challenges that face individuals who have a criminal conviction on their records is finding a job.  So an event today at the Freeman Coliseum is trying to help them get around that stigma, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

East Side Commissioner Tommy Calvert has invited dozens of employers to participate in the Second Chance Job Fair, and many people with black marks on their records are showing up, and some are being hired on the spot.

"We also want to educate employers that the County needs their help in hiring those who served time that we can make them productive members of society," Calvert said.

Clyde Foster, an organizer of the event, says nothing prevents a person from falling back into criminal activity like having a job.

"We know that a strong neighborhood, a strong family, if you are working or going to school, your neighborhood is going to be a better place," he said.

Foster says employers, who are being forced to be creative by the strong economy which has resulted in a shortage of employees for expanding companies, are realizing that an investment in a hard working employee pays benefits, even if that person has a blemish on his or her record.

He says employers in multiple fields, from oilfield services to hospitality, medical, and construction, are participating in the event, and many have walked away with good employees on their payroll.

"I think everybody is worth taking a chance on, because we all make mistakes and we are all looking for second chances," Foster said.

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