President Obama Re-entry and Employment for People with Felonies
Last Friday President Obama invited a group of rappers and musicians including Chance The Rapper, Nicki Minaj, DJ Khaled, Alicia Keys, Rick Ross, Busta Rhymes, Pusha T, Janelle Monáe, Timbaland, Ludacris, J. Cole, and Wale to the White House to discuss criminal justice reform and support programs designed to help young men of color. Last month I met an older male at the job expo event that was released from prison after serving 21 years for armed robbery. He approached the registration table with a glazed look on this face uncertain of what to do, unsure of his next step beyond arrival – carrying a skills assessment test provided by the Department of Corrections with instructions to obtain employment in the top five career fields nursing, engineering, insurance, social work and sales.
Many people with criminal backgrounds are instructed by parole/probation officers to ask employers if they are “felony friendly” asking this question will guarantee you are never hired by any company. It is apparent that people hired to help individual with a criminal past obtain viable employment follow a procedures script when they send potential applicants in the real world where they are demoralized and prejudged for having a criminal past by employers that are hiring. The looming pressure from the Department of Corrections to obtain employment for ex-offenders is haunting especially when the alternative is returning to prison, one and eight people return to a life of crime, drugs or prison within 30 to 45 days after release.
Michigan Employers Hire a Felon Receive $2,400 Tax Credit.
Michigan employers can receive tax incentives and business protection when they employ ex-offenders, former substance abusers, and other individuals who have questionable backgrounds as high-risk and potentially untrustworthy workers. The United States Department of Labor rewards employers with a $2,400 work opportunity tax credit for hiring ex-felons 1 year after release from prison or conviction.
Michigan employers that are apprehensive about hiring at risk employees can receive up to $25,000 for losses that are incurred as a result of hiring a high-risk employee when they participate in the Fidelity Bonding Program an incentive to encourage employers to hire employees who might otherwise be denied employment. Michigan employers receive protection against dishonest acts of theft, larceny, forgery and embezzlement committed by a bonded employee. The Fidelity Bonding Program is free of charge to employers for the first six months of employment.
Real Felony Friendly Career Opportunities. Top Five Occupations for Ex-Offenders.
- Don’t apply for positions you do not have previous work experience/training or education for unless the employer states they are willing to train new hires.
- Do apply for the positions as a normal candidate; remember to boost about your skills and experience relevant to the position. Many employers want to hire employees that can do the job. It is a fact that many employers will deny you for employment because of your background, don’t let your past define your future, stay positive in your job search and you will see results.
- Don’t ask any employers if they are “felony friendly”. Whomever started this trend clearly never had any criminal convictions to explain in an employment interview.
Top Five Occupations for Ex-Offenders.
Certified Welder Jobs. Despite the high unemployment rate, skilled workers are hard to come by and therefore always in high demand. Too many jobs: not enough welders. From manufacturing to construction the demand for welders is strong. Salaries are also good, given that many jobs don’t require extensive education. Average wages are $17-25 an hour, with more complex roles like underwater welding; specialized certifications; or supervisory roles offering even higher earnings. Contact the American Welding Society at www.aws.org
HVACR Technician Jobs. Develop the skills to start a new career as an HVACR Technician in only 9 months with MIAT’s Heating, Ventilation, Air-Conditioning & Refrigeration training program. Job growth within this field is propelled by new construction and the need to retrofit or upgrade older systems as more energy efficient equipment is released and new safety and environmental regulations come into effect. Details available at www.miat.edu
Automotive Servicing Jobs. Regardless of the state of the economy, people always need vehicles that run — and run well. More than ever, skilled auto repair professionals are in demand and not just because people want their vehicle to run, but because of the way vehicles are made. Skilled auto techs make nearly $40,000 per year and according to the United States Department of Labor. Oakland Community College offers a certificate program designed to prepare students for entry-level servicing operations in the automotive field. Information available at www.oaklandcc.edu
Skilled Manufacturing Jobs. During the employment crisis many companies offered production and machine workers a buyout or early retirement, now the economy is improving the need for cnc machine workers is serious. Ex-offenders can look forward to earning $ 10.00 to $18.00 hourly as a machinist. Henry Ford Community College offers the Basic Machine Tool Technology/ CNC Certificate training. Students will develop basic skills to obtain entry-level employment. Information available at www.hfcc.edu
Transportation Jobs: If you are re-entering the job market with little work experience, few marketable skills and red flags in your background, consider getting started in the transportation industry. Individuals with a clean driving record and ability to pass MDOT drug testing requirements will find success as a truck driver, motor coach driver, rail car porter, and courier. Employment of bus drivers is expected to increase through the year 2019, primary to meet the growing transportation needs in downtown Detroit. Contact Kim Quinn with International Trucking School regarding 15-week truck driver training program at 1-800-TRUCKING
Multicopter Pilot. It’s predicted that 80,000 drone related jobs will flood the market over the next few years. From aerial photography and cinematography in the extreme sports (or outdoor film industry) to land surveying start-ups and drone manufacturers, the job market is in an exciting growth state. Pay can range: $15.00 to $38.00 per hour depending upon experience and skill. Oakland University offers a multicopters certificate course details available at www.oakland.edu
IT/Computer Jobs. The demand for helpdesk support, web designers, database administrators and many other related fields in technology open the hiring door to potential applicants with accredited training. Global Information Technology offers several fast-track certificate programs designed to help candidates launch a new career. Contact Esa Khalid for course details at (866)-GO-GIT-GO