Impact Publications has a line of little $10 paperbacks aimed at the enlarging world of incarcerated citizens; certainly they have an endless market that needs guidance. Guide they do: Best Job for Offenders: 101 Opportunities to Jump-Start Your New Life, gives us 3 chapters on Best Jobs for You, Transitional Employment, and (too-brief) Job Restrictions. Then it summarizes a federal guide.
Thus the first 28 pages might offer you idea and realities you haven’t considered. For instance, recognize the difference between an application’s Have you ever been arrested? and Have you ever been convicted of a crime? The author can’t list which states have Banned the Box (that would require constant updating), but readers should check with the particular state– to make sure applicants aren’t unlawfully being asked questions before they get an interview.
The second chapter on Transitional Employment is an eye-opener. Focus on creating a true, compelling story about your rehabilitation and performance. Use that story throughout your applications and interviews. Employers who typically prefer to hire only non-felons can be swayed by a carefully presented story.
Did you know that the military has had a Moral Waiver Program since 2003? If the conviction was for minor drugs, etc., the military may make an exception and open the doors to a fabulous career. Check it out!
Don’t get blind-sided by a potential employer who knows more than you do about your own history. You can review your rap sheet at www.hirenetwork.org/resource.html , a marvelous resource for re-entry. That web contains valuable information–check it out, too. Additionally, the author recommends that you send a letter, with signature, name, date, place of birth, full set of fingerprints, to the DOJ/FBI Information Service. The Freedom of Information Act allows you to see your full FBI rap sheet and thus know anything your prospective employer can learn. It’s worth the appx $18 (plus fingerprint charge at local police precinct or fingerprint service). Write attention SCU, Mod. D-2, 1000 Custer Hollow Rd., Clarksburg, WV 26306.
Chapters 4-10 summarize the Dept. of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook. They present an almost-endless list of Construction Trade Jobs, Installation and Repair Jobs, etc. These chapters might help an inmate trying to decide what jobs exist in the free world. But unfortunately, the author cannot list which jobs which states exempt from ex-offenders. Readers will have to research all that themselves. One example: in prison, many inmates are taught the needed skill of barbering. But many states will not allow a felon that occupational license. Learning which occupations your own state has excluded takes research time and resources. The book can’t provide those. What author/series editor Ron Krannich has done, however, is provide an annotated sample state (Alabama) and all the resources available. It’s useful as a starting point: does your state have this, that, that other agency? pro-bono group? advocate group?
This book is easy to read and realistic about the limitations ex-felons face.