Can I get a job with a felony on my record?

Who hires felons? Where can felons get jobs? Do they need to be bonded? Are certain industries more lenient about background checks than others? Will felons make less money due to their criminal background?

There is no doubt that having a felony conviction in your recent or even distant past can have an adverse effect on your ability to find gainful employment. However, there are resources available to help felons become productive members of society and obtain jobs. Likewise, there are certain employers and industries that are more likely to hire felons than others.

Some states, court systems, and correctional facilities have offender reentry programs that help prepare felons for life outside the prison walls. Often, these programs can offer referrals and advice for felons seeking work, which may include job or vocational training, assistance with resume writing and interviewing skills, and help with job searching techniques. Your state unemployment or workforce development office also may have resources to help you find and apply for jobs.

Programs such as these also may offer access to skills testing, G.E.D study courses and testing, and other educational opportunities, which may help felons become eligible for a wider variety of jobs. Additionally, some non-profit and religious organizations exist to assist felons in transitioning back into society. Some reentry or employment programs also provide benefits such as access to counseling, appropriate clothing, haircuts, medical care, substance abuse treatment, and transportation in order to make it easier for felons to find and retain jobs.

Find the right employer
While some jobs and careers may be unavailable to felons under any circumstances, such as certain law enforcement and government jobs, there are still industries that are open to hiring felons. For instance, some factories and construction companies are willing to hire felons. Temporary placement agencies often have listing of employers who are willing to consider hiring felons; for instance, if a felon is able to successfully complete a temporary assigned placement, and show the employer that he or she is an ethical and dependable worker, then he or she might be able to transition to a permanent job with that employer in the future.

Other sources of potential employment for felons tend to require less skill, such as restaurant, janitorial, and other service-oriented jobs. Although these types of jobs might pay less than other jobs that require more skill, fast-food or cleaning jobs can give felons a starting place for future employment. For example, if a felon can show a pattern of steady, dependable, consistent employment for a certain period of time, then he or she may be able to move on to a higher-paying or more skilled job.

The government can help
Furthermore, the federal government offers certain benefits for companies who are willing to hire felons as part of their workforce. Some companies are eligible to receive federal tax credit incentive benefits for each felon that they hire. Likewise, companies can help ensure the trustworthiness of felon employees by using bonds, or business insurance policies, through a federal bonding program. Bonding protects employers from losses due to employee theft or dishonesty. These bonds are given to employers free of charge for a period of six months as incentives for hiring felons. Once the six-month period is complete, and the felon has successfully continued employment, then he or she may be eligible for a commercial bond in order to provide the employer with ongoing protection in case of losses.

Also see:
Hiring a felon