You’re excited, you’ve done your time and are trying to get your life on track by applying for a life changing job. You checked the mailbox and received a letter from an employer stating, “Thank you for applying but at this time, we are going in a different direction. We wish you the best in your future endeavors!”
What happened? Some employers can do a criminal background check further than the state requirement of 5 years; and that’s why you didn’t get the job. How can you live the American Dream if all you are ever allowed to earn is minimum wage?
You are not allowed to go back to college unless you have the funds to pay cash because the law does not allow ex-offenders to take student loans, right? You have a GED but what career choices do you have with that? You owe restitution and need to keep a job in order to remain on parole or probation. It’s almost as if you are still in prison but able to walk around freely, or is that your limited thinking because you don’t know what resources are available to you?
Yes, all of the above statements have some truth to them, but where are you hearing them from? Are you still hanging around the same people with the same mind frame that got you incarcerated for the first, second or third time?
How can an ex-offender start a successful business with all of these barriers? Here’s how:
- You have to retool yourself. In every state; as a resident of any county; you are entitled to a minimum of $3000-5000 to retool yourself. It’s not a loan, it’s a grant.
- You visit your local Career One Stop and ask about their WIOA training dollars. WIOA stands for Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act. Click the following link for details regarding the WIOA act. http://www.nawb.org/documents/Publications/WIOA_Overview-090314.pdf
- If you are low-income, no income, ex-offender or non-ex-offender the state wants to help you. The available funds vary. Career One Stop helps to provide you with resources you need to earn a livable wage.
However, make sure that you use those WIOA dollars wisely. You are only entitled to one lifetime grant. Once you use it, you can not apply again. You want to select something that stays within the WIOA grant budget because taking a loan is not something you want to do when you currently don’t have any extra money to give away.
People with blemished backgrounds can’t enter every career, they have to select wisely. What are some good career choices that will accept ex-offenders? There are a lot of options that are very lucrative. Here are a few choices to consider:
Web and Graphic Design
Heating and Cooling
Landscaping and Lawn Care
Web and graphic design are the easiest to learn and is potentially the most lucrative business to start.
Don’t sleep on these resources, and I wish you the best.
Tarsha Weary is the president and CEO of SW Design School and the founder of interns4hire.com, both based in Glen Burnie, Md.