Where criminals can find employment assistance, jobs in Charlotte


Employers have struggled to fill jobs during the pandemic.

Employers have struggled to fill jobs during the pandemic.

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New beginnings

An ample opportunity in Charlotte’s food scene opens the door for entrepreneurs who have culinary skills, but sometimes there is one big thing holding them back: A criminal conviction on their record. Starting your own business is a solution to employment discrimination, but it comes with its own barriers. This special report explores how Charlotte’s food scene is helping former inmate people start new. Plus, our reporters took a look at other programs created to help raise and support those returning to society.

For those with a criminal record, finding a steady job can be a challenge.

According to a 2018 report from the Prison Policy Institute, 27% of former inmates are unemployed. The analysis is based on the latest data collected by the government on persons who have been in prison.

Hope Marshall, program manager for the Mecklenburg County Criminal Justice Services Re-entry Services Program, said many people with criminal records are denied employment because of their history checks.

“Employers may think there are liability issues for violent, drug and sexual offenders and do not want to hire them or hire them before a history check is over, just to let them go later. , ”Marshall said in an email to The Charlotte Observer.

According to Marshall, other reasons that may be difficult for those with criminal records to find a job include:

  • Lack of education, skills or certificates required for desired employment.

  • Unexplained gaps in employment history.

  • Inability to access online resources to complete job applications.

  • Lack of child care or transportation.

  • Inability to obtain social security cards or other forms of identification required for job applications.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic left a record number of unemployed Americans, many employers began hiring people with criminal records, Marshall said, and others introduced second-case employment programs for the justice involved.

Those who find work earn an average of $ 269 a week – 53% of the average salary of American employees – during the first year of their release, according to the Prisons Policy Institute.

If you or someone you know has trouble reintegrating into society, there are places in Charlotte that can help previously imprisoned people return to the workforce.

Center for Community Transitions

For more than 40 years, families in the Charlotte area affected by incarceration have benefited from reintegration services provided by the Center for Community Transitions (CCT).

A CCT program that offers programs is called Lifeworks, an initiative that provides hands-on training and employment assistance. Another is Families Doing Time, which provides support groups and vocational training for families of incarcerated individuals.

You can visit the center at 5825 Old Concord Rd., Or contact them online at centerforcommunitytransitions.org. The organization can also be contacted by phone at (704) 494-0001.

Mecklenburg District Re-entry Services

Mecklenburg County Re-entry Services provide employment training, placement and case management training services for recently imprisoned individuals.

Participation in the program is voluntary and anyone returning to the county from prison within one year of release from a state correctional facility is eligible. Services can start before release or after completing a referral form found on the Mecklenburg County Re-entry Services website or by calling 980-314-5043.

NextGen by NCWorks

NextGen is a free program for young people aged 16-25 to achieve their educational and employment goals.

The organization provides case management assistance to recently imprisoned individuals, as well as career planning, training, employment training, and placement services.

You can call 704-566-2879 or email NextGen at inspireyouthrws@gmail.com to schedule an appointment. There are two Charlotte locations, at 8601 McAlpine Park Dr., and 7140 Forest Point Blvd.

Employers hiring justice involved

Some companies hire inmates before, but each has different policies. Here is a list of employers where people involved in justice are employed, according to Help for Felons, an organization dedicated to helping those who have been incarcerated return to the workforce:

  • Starbucks: Every crime is reviewed case by case. Factors considered include the type of crime you were convicted of and how long ago the conviction occurred.

  • Lowe’s: When reviewing applications, the company takes into account the type of criminal conviction, the length of your sentence, and any job-related skills the applicants possess.

  • UPS: The company employs several applicants for some entry-level positions, including package holder, driver assistance and seasonal positions.

  • Walgreens: Applications are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

  • Amazon: The company does not have a general policy against the employment of previously incarcerated persons. Amazon says applicants can often be hired for positions in warehouses.

  • Best Purchase: Factors that play a role in the hiring process include the specific nature of your crime, the time that has elapsed since your release from prison, and how a criminal record is explained to the hiring manager.

  • IHOP: Many applicants with criminal records have reported getting a job in the country after an interview, especially in places with short staff.

  • Applebee’s: The restaurant chain has been known for hiring applicants involved in justice for the positions of hostess, cashier, server and chef.

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Evan Moore is a service journalism reporter for the Charlotte Observer. He grew up in Denver, North Carolina, where he previously worked as a reporter for the Denver Citizen and is a UNC Charlotte graduate.

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