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MS second-chance job fairs connect formerly incarcerated with employers

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Thursday, November 9, 2023   

Finding a job after prison can be tough, but a program in Mississippi is helping formerly incarcerated people get back on their feet.

The Governor's Job Fair Network holds community-based hiring events throughout the state, connecting job seekers with potential employers.

Adam Todd with the Mississippi Department of Employment Security is the director of the network - and said they work with the Department of Corrections to put on three job fairs a year specifically for people who are re-entering the workforce.

He said the statewide initiative is making a significant difference as more than 1,700 job offers have been made along with more than 4,700 projected hires at the events.

"We had 71 employers participate in those three events," said Todd. "We had right at 200 job seekers attend all those events. And the businesses, the recruiters and HR managers that were present at those job fairs reported to us 97 job offers made during those three events."

Todd noted that these job fairs are a great opportunity for people who have been in prison to meet with potential employers and learn about job openings.

Todd added that several support groups participating in these events provide tools to help with driver licensing services and expungement.

Todd said the Mississippi Department of Employment Security oversees the Fidelity Bonding initiative, which provides up to $25,000 of insurance to businesses that hire formerly incarcerated Mississippians.

"We're letting people know that there are tax credits available for hiring someone that has been formerly incarcerated," said Todd. "I believe it's up to $2,400. That's the Work Opportunity Tax Credit. So there are benefits there."

Todd pointed out that The Mississippi Department of Employment Security received an $8.3 million grant to help people in federal custody prepare for life after prison.

The Partners for Re-entry Opportunities in Workforce Development grant will provide mentoring, coaching, job training and other support services before and after release.




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