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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