Programs That Help People With a Criminal Record Find a Job

by Colleen Collins; Updated September 26, 2017

Sometimes companies are hesitant to hire an individual with a criminal record because they are concerned the person may repeat criminal behavior resulting in lawsuits for negligent hiring. This creates a challenging, and often difficult, job search for an ex-offender. Fortunately, there are individuals and organizations that help ex-offenders prepare for interviews, as well as provide resources, training, and recommendations to individuals and companies who believe people are entitled to a second chance.

Probation or Parole Officer

Probation and parole officers offer a variety of resources, from helping you write a resume to providing personal recommendations to prospective employers. These officers know which individuals and companies in the area hire ex-offenders, and can help schedule a job interview. Be willing to work any job. What is critical is your attitude and willingness to work, especially if terms of employment are a stipulation of your probation or parole. Being hard-working, trustworthy and reliable might lead to a promotion.

State Unemployment Office

Visit your state unemployment office and request to speak to a case manager who specializes in jobs for ex-offenders. These managers are trained to assess your needs, analyze your criminal record and identify your job interests. If your criminal record contains any inaccuracies or outdated information, a case manager has contacts with legal services that can clarify or delete these from your record. Finally, a case manager can help set up interviews with local companies that hire ex-offenders.

National H.I.R.E. Network

The National H.I.R.E. (Helping Individuals with criminal records Re-enter through Employment) Network offers resources and assistance to both employers wanting to hire people with criminal histories, and to ex-offenders seeking job training and employment opportunities. Its goals include increasing the quantity of jobs for those with criminal records, providing guidance and technological assistance to companies that offer employment opportunities to ex-offenders, as well as legal resources.

Ex-Offender Resource Websites

Although these websites aren't programs, they offer support, advice and resources to ex-offenders seeking employment. For example, FelonyAdvice.com posts information on such topics as how to discuss your felony record with potential employers, how to initiate the process to expunge your record, and work opportunities for felons. Jailtojob.com is a job posting site for ex-offenders that also offers articles on interview techniques and lists of companies currently hiring those with criminal records.

About the Author

In 1997 Harlequin published Colleen Collins' first novel, followed by many more by Harlequin and Dorchester. Her articles and writing have appeared in "P.I. Magazine," "Pursuit Magazine" and "Cosmopolitan." She earned a B.A. in theater arts from University of California, Santa Barbara and is an active member of Mystery Writers of America.