Many newly released felons have taken their first steps back in a free society into the doors of the local Workforce Solutions Office with a fresh outlook and a promise of help in getting back into a legal lifestyle through working for an honest living in an environment where felons are given a second chance. There are many of those type employers out there, just finding them is a bit of a challenge. And after the 2011 ruling by the State of Texas which did away with Project RIO, some ex-felons think that finding those employers is all but impossible, and have threatened to “go back to” their former illegal habits.
The truth is the services at Workforce Solutions remain available for all customers, including those with felonies, with or without Project Rio. The job matching and referrals to “case by case” employers, the seminars, career counseling and planning, and even the fidelity bonding services remain available for people with backgrounds.
The biggest advantage of using our services must be the ability to search for jobs in our WorkinTexas.com website using the filter, “case by case”. Using this filter enables the job seeker to find employers who are willing to consider each individual on a case by case basis.
Employers have varying degrees of “case by case” leniency in their willingness to hire job seekers with a background. Some will require a number of conviction free years, while others require that the convictions be below a specific severity in order to be acceptable to become employed. In any situation, the backgrounded job seeker is wise to emphasize his/her appreciation to the employer for providing the tolerance and willingness to consider a person with a conviction.
All of these employers share the “protection” offered by Workforce Solutions of a fidelity bond. If they take the chance on a convicted felon by offering them a position, Workforce Solutions will pay for a fidelity bond, or an insurance policy protecting the employer against potential employee dishonesty for a period of 6 months. There is no cost to the employer, so the benefit to the employer is substantial.
In an interview situation, the ex-offender/job seeker would be well advised to remember and mention the available fidelity bonding, since it does provide a significant advantage for the employer.
There are many websites that assist job seekers in the search for a new career. But WorkinTexas.com with its “case by case” method of retrieving jobs, coupled with the fidelity bonding protection for the employer can provide the best possible situation for the truly rehabilitated job seeker who needs a second chance.
Sharan Nunn is an employment counselor with Workforce Solutions – Pasadena. With a background as a human resources generalist, she has experience in both health care and hospitality industries, where outstanding customer service equals success. Sharan is a native of East Texas, and has called Houston home long enough to remember when the Astrodome was the new “Eighth Wonder of the World.”</em