Published Thu, Jun 28, 2012 3:18 pm Dateline
The 400 or 500 people convicted of felonies each year in Athens County should have an easier time finding jobs thanks to a bill the governor signed earlier this week.
The bill will mainly bring ex-felons back to work as cosmetologists, salvage-yard dealers and construction workers. However, there are still several steps to go before the bill is finalized.
Director of Athens County Job and Family Services Jack Frech says some positions will be accepting applications right away. For other jobs, ex-inmates will have to apply for relief through a judge in order to be hired.
“They are not just trying to help provide some relief for people who have a felony record, but they are trying to reduce the number of people who get convicted of felonies in the first place,” Frech said. “(The bill) doesn’t really create any more jobs itself, so of course, this will give these folks at least the opportunity to apply for what few vacancies are around right now.”
Frech says the bill sends a strong message to the community that we should all give these folks a second chance.
For years, Job and Family Services has been holding monthly training sessions for ex-felons looking for jobs. They also routinely meet with employers in the area to help reduce the stigma and encourage them to hire these ex-felons.
“We’ve already found they want jobs, they want to be productive, they wanna support their families,” Frech said.