Unemployment Rate Drops, Felons Still Looking

SOUTHFIELD (WWJ) – The U.S. economy added 148,000 jobs during the month — not the 180,000 that economists had expected. Despite that, the jobless rate still dropped to 7.2 percent.

Among those stopping by the Michigan Works office in Southfield, Tuesday was Jacob Williams, who calls himself a “returning citizen.”

Recently released from prison, Wiliams, 34, said he hasn’t had any success in finding a job.

“It’s kinda hard for me to find a job. I look every day and I give it my best effort; but there’s no companies out there that’s willing to give a returning citizen a chance again,” Williams told WWJ Newsradio 950’s Pat Sweeting.

“We’ve done our time, OK. We made a mistake in our younger days; now we’re just trying to proceed on,” Williams said,

There is a special program backed by the state and the federal government that provides insurance for employers who hire released felons, said Gail Haynes of Michigan Works.

“… Available at most Michigan works (offices), it’s free for the employers. It’s in amounts from $5,000 to $25,000, and it’s renewable,” Haynes explained.

The fidelity bond, which protects again stealing, forgery, larceny and embezzlement, offers “non-bondable” individuals help in finding a job.

“It’s just a little tool in their interview kit, and it gives them a little more confidence that they’re making themselves a more attractive employee,” she said.

Those eligible to be covered by this program include ex-offenders, former addicts, former alcoholics, public assistance recipients, and those lacking a work history along with former military members who were dishonorably discharged and anyone who can not be commercially bonded.

Get more information about the program HERE.

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