State Program's Non-Payment Threaten Careers, Etc.; Group Helps Ex-Offenders Find Jobs

By: Meghan Dwyer
By: Meghan Dwyer

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- In a down economy it can be hard enough to get a job, but people with criminal backgrounds in the Stateline are facing even tougher hurdles.

That’s going to be especially true if the area's largest job training center closes. Careers, Etc. on East State Street helps about 250 people a year find jobs and many of those people are felons.

They have a 59 percent success rate employing people, but about a year ago they were forced to cut ties with a state program to help ex-offenders because they weren't getting paid. Its budget isn't nearly as robust as it used to be and it's one of very few programs in the Stateline that helps parolees find work.

Stephen Haight from Careers, Etc. said, “It’s a big problem because people need to understand because if they think well I don't care about those people. If they committed a crime, they don't need anything. Well if we don't get them to work then they have to get services that we pay taxes for and we turn them into tax paying consumers."

There are about a thousand people on parole in Winnebago County. The number one reason people don't end up back to prison: they find a job.

Haight says it really depends on whether or not someone is willing to work at it if they are able to get a job.

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  • by Alan Location: Rockford,IL on Mar 4, 2012 at 11:12 AM
    Ok, now for the first comment I need to respond.... I am a felon and you are not...well good for you. Its people like you that keep the criminal rates up. That means if you get robbed or burglarized it for the simple fact that we need money too AND jobs if we can't get jobs there are other ways of getting money. Does that not click in your simple mind? You think the way u raise ur kids is going to matter...NOPE your wrong. Your what's wrong with the world andthe lord has a special place in hell for ur kind. Everyone deserves to work nomatter what they do cuz if they don't they resort back to their criminal activitys. I don't know how ur in position to hire anyone because ur not to bright of person. The fact is that EVERYONE deserves a job and a second chance!!!!!!!
  • by kitty Location: rockford on Mar 2, 2012 at 06:25 AM
    My understanding is when applying for a job, the prospective employer ONLY asks if you have been convicted of a FELONY!! A felony is NOT a slight mistake!! As far as serving their debt to society, most felons do NOT serve their full sentence. As an employer, I do NOT want to jeopardize the safety or well being of my employees by hiring a former felon!!! This IS another consequence of committing crimes, no matter what the age. Why should thousands of people who have NEVER been convicted of a crime have to work side by side with someone who has? I raised my children to always respect the laws of this land & forewarned them about the long term consequences if they didn't. The old adage "if you do the crime, you do the time", NO MATTER HOW LONG THAT TIME IS!!! Sorry, I have no sympathy for convicted criminals!!
  • by Bob Location: Rockford on Mar 2, 2012 at 01:50 AM
    The problem in this country is that once your a criminal your branded for life! I believe once an individual has served their time for a crime that individual should be able to start over! Their previous crimes in most cases should not be a factor in finding a job and moving forward in their lives! What motivation and hope is there for them otherwise to put their lives on the right path?! It costs tax payers more annually to imprison one inmate than many families make in a single year!! Here's an idea!! Perhaps Put those tax dollars into productive jobs fixing our schools and infrastructure!! It's called investment in the future and not just throwing people away! The Problem is there's too much money to be stolen by the prison industrial complex slowly enslaving us all!!
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