What Are The Best Careers For Felons?
There are no absolutely correct answers to this question, but there is evidence to support the fact that the list of jobs for individuals who are saddled with a felony conviction are longer in certain employment sectors than in others.
According to Abigail Saunders, Director of Human Resources at Yonkers, N.Y.-based Greyston Bakery, individuals who have a criminal record (our latest survey shows that nearly 1 out of 3 have an arrest record) will have an easier time securing employment if they conduct their job search in the fields of warehousing, maintenance, landscaping, sanitation, and some entry-level administrative positions. “You don’t need a degree or any or much experience to find employment in those fields,” notes Saunders, who has hired more than a few felons during her tenure at Greyston Bakery. “Our apprenticeship program here at the Bakery is like job training in that our bakers spend 3-6 months learning and being trained in all of the tasks that they’ll be asked to perform at our facility.”
Felon-Friendly Employers Often Practice Open Hiring
With over 10 million job openings currently available throughout the United States, there are more than is commonly believed. Companies such as Greyston Bakery, that hire felons do so through a hiring process called Open Hiring. “Open Hiring is similar to what is often called ‘second chance’ hiring,” says Saunders, who notes that Greyston Bakery’s program is broader than that. “Individuals who need a second chance can get one through open hiring, and plus, many never get that first chance that we give them.”
Greyston Bakery, for example, does not ask job applicants to submit resumes, nor do they conduct interviews or background checks. Applicants simply provide contact information, and when an opening comes up, they’re called to see if they would still like to work for the Bakery. “We focus on an individual’s future and their potential,” says Saunders. “We’re not interested in knowing all about their pasts. If they have a strong desire to work, we think they’ll work out nicely at the Bakery.”
The Transition From An Institution To The Work Place
Many correctional institutions offer inmates the opportunity to pursue GEDs as well as participate in job-readiness programs. Saunders says inmates who realize that their chances to become gainfully employed improve upon their release from incarceration if they’ve earned their GED and/or acquired job skills while incarcerated will avail themselves of those opportunities. “Many of these job-readiness programs cover everything from proper dress code to how to interact and communicate effectively with your fellow employees,” she notes. “These programs can be really transformative in that they give participates an edge when it comes to the best of the available jobs.”