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Employment for Felons in NJ

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This post has 6 Replies | 7 Followers

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Points 83
Deswy Posted: Fri, Jun 15 2012 11:05 AM

Hey, everyone.  I've been on probation for three years, and owe a whopping $34.000 in restitution for a theft I committed in first (and last) crime.  I have been trying to get a job since my release from county jail and have had no success.  Oh, wait....yes...I DID have a job for two weeks until they got my background check back and they let me go because, and I quote, "you are just on a probationary term and you aren't working out."  Since then, no job....I've had responses to my resume, but once they discover I've had a felony...the opportunity goes away.

I have heard that there are employers out there that will hire people like us, but I haven't found one....and I have also heard that there are vocational programs for us if we need to enter a new field.  I had been an EMT for 20 years before I did what I did.  I had to give up my certification because of my felony.  At the time my probation ends I can petition the State of NJ to re-certify me, but it's not a guarantied thing. there anything out there to look forward to?  I have transportation, I have a brain, and I feel as if I'm going nowhere fast.

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Points 27

If you go to Kentucky Department of Corrections Community Services Resources List for Lexington, you will find a list of national companies that will hire felons.

Also, there are certain industries that typically hire felons.  These include auto parts stores, tow boat companies, car sales and repair (with oil changers and tire changers as entry level job), auto body repair (with detailing as entry level job), Cleaning Services, Grocery Stores, Warehouse and Distribution Centers, Hotels, Lawn and Landscape firms, moving companies, restaurants, construction, and temporary services. 

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Points 27
Maggie replied on Wed, Jun 20 2012 12:23 PM

Hi, Deswy!

I encourage my clients with felony records to be up front about their felony records so they don't have that hanging over their heads if they are hired.  Here's something for your cover letter (after an introductory paragraph that addresses your desire/skills for the job) that will go with your application and resume:

"You will notice on my application that I have answered "yes" to the question, "Have you ever been convicted of a felony?"  Please know that I have worked hard on changing my life for the better, having successfully completed a treatment program, started classes at the local community college, and begun volunteering for _________.  (*Or whatever else you've done to turn your life around)  Because of my record, the US government will provide you with a Fidelity Bond that guarantees my honesty for six months, at no cost to you, and you might qualify for a tax credit for hiring me.

I have enclosed my application and resume and will call you this week to find a time to meet.  It would be a pleasure interviewing with you and an even greater pleasure working for (company).

Then I suggest that you include the Fidelity Bond and Work Opportunity Tax Credit (if you qualify) paperwork with your resume/application/cover letter.  If proves that what you're saying is true and looks impressive to the employer.

Re: Fidelity Bonds - some employers would like to hire you but can't because they can't get commercial liability insurance for someone with a felony record.  This Fidelity Bond gives them that liability insurance.  Once you get an offer of employment and a start date, contact your local One Stop (sometimes called Job One) and ask them about the Federal Bonding Program.

A few more suggestions:  A felony record does NOT mean you can't get a good job and keep it!  It may mean, however, that you have to work harder than others in the search process - dress better than all the other applicants, take out facial piercings/cover tattoos if you have them, smile and shake hands with each person you meet, even the cashier you ask for an application, send a thank-you card, be prepared to contact several employers, stand out from all the others - make them remember you!

My best to you,

Maggie Montgomery, Vocational Director

Progress House, Inc.

Placerville, CA

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Points 83
Deswy replied on Sat, Jun 23 2012 8:43 AM

Thanks Maggie.

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Points 83
Deswy replied on Sat, Jun 23 2012 8:50 AM

Thanks for the info Bruce. It appears Kentucky has great resources.  I've tried many places here in Jersey, but keep getting turned away.  Unemployment rates here are high as it is, and having a felony theft, although it is a first offense for me, still is a bad thing....I had a position as a medical accessioner for 2 whole weeks, and then, in the blink of an eye, it was gone.  I am still plugging away looking for work, I'm not giving up, but my spirits are low.  NJ does not appear to have many resources for felons.

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Points 5

Hi:  I read the problems you were having finding employment as an ex-felon.  After researching this ttopic this is what I found for the NJ area.  I hope it helps.  Good luck!

The National H.I.R.E. Network

  • The National H.I.R.E. Network ( is a national organization that works to both provide information and resources for ex-convicts and to help change public policies that hinder ex-convicts from finding employment. The site provides general information for felons on how to apply for jobs, as well as a list of local resources based on the person's location.

The Osborne Association

  • The Osborne Association ( was founded to continue the work by a former mayor of Auburn, NY, Thomas Mott Osborne, who voluntarily spent a week in the local jail. He was so moved by his experience that he worked for the rest of his life to help improve the conditions of inmates' lives. The Osborne Association provides services to residents of the New York City area, including employment assistance in the culinary, janitorial, and green job sectors.

Read more: Organizations That Help Felons Find Jobs |
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Points 5




There will be employers that will turn you down due to this conviction, but if you're honest and upfront about your record and explain in the space provided on the applicaiton as well as in the interview how things are much different, you do have a fair shot. Honestly just don't give up hope. 

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