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The potential problems with re-entering the workforce

As many retailers begin to hire temporary employers for the holiday season, some employers may still be ambivalent over hiring candidates with criminal records. Unfortunately, the perceived trouble that accompanies a criminal record still affects hiring decisions.

An employer may assume that ex-cons will be difficult or unreliable employees. Also, ex-offenders may not have the job seeking and interviewing skills needed to impress employers. Further, they are not always prepared to answer pointed questions about their criminal past. Defensive answers do not help in earning the trust of a potential employer.

In the face of these issues, Michigan officials are turning to non-traditional methods to get ex-offenders into the job market. Specifically, they are asking local business leaders, doctors and clergy members to act as mentors for ex-cons in helping to develop job skills. Also, the Michigan Prisoner Re-entry Initiative (MPRI), is a promising program for those recently released from prison. The project focuses on all aspects of life after prison, including budget management, job skills and critical thinking. This training begins before release for offenders who state officials believe pose the highest risk of committing new crimes and returning to prison.

Job seekers with criminal records can also use non-traditional methods in finding work. There are many Internet sites with advice and information for ex-offenders, including bestjobsforfelons.com, michiganworks.org, and prisontalk.com can provide resources not found in traditional labor postings.

Offenders may also look to job opportunities without stringent background checks. For example, telephone customer service agencies and delivery companies may hire ex-offenders if their backgrounds do not conflict with the primary functions of the job.

If you have questions about re-entering the workforce with a criminal record, an experienced criminal defense attorney can advise you. 

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