Harford County’s Second Chance Job and Resource Fair on September 26
Harford County employers are invited to register for the 2019 Second Chance Job and Resource Fair, which offers opportunities to citizens who have had past criminal charges or experienced incarceration. Harford County government, the Harford County Sheriff’s Office, the Harford County Health Department, the Harford County Bar Foundation, Susquehanna Workforce Network, Parole and Probation and numerous other community partners developed the fair to connect ex-offenders with employers that want to strengthen our community by giving individuals who have made mistakes a second chance. Participating employers may also be eligible for tax credits. This year’s fair will be held from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, September 26 at the EPICENTER in Edgewood.
“Last year the Second Chance Job Fair was outstanding. We had over 35 people interview, and found positions for more than 10. We look forward to meeting new clients and offering needed resources this September. Most importantly, we are proud to be a part of the community effort to give individuals a second chance,” Sheryl Davis Kohl, owner of Beacon Staffing, said.
Research on individuals re-entering the workforce affirms that ex-offenders have lower turnover than other employees and are no more likely to be fired than non-offenders. In addition, a citizen whose last offense was seven or more years ago is no more likely to be arrested than a citizen without a record.
Second Chance employers have a major impact on our communities and our economy. Nearly one-third of working age Americans have a criminal record. Research shows that in the first year after their release, only 55% of formerly incarcerated individuals report any earnings. Of those with earnings, 32% made between $500 and $15,000 annually.
“According to the Governor’s Office on Children, more than 3,000 children in Harford County have a parent under criminal supervision. So employers who are willing to give individuals an opportunity to rebuild their lives have a tremendous impact on our families, schools, and communities,” said Amber Shrodes, Director of Harford County Community Services. “And federal tax credits and reduced employee turnover give Second Chance employers a competitive edge.”
The Work Opportunity Tax Credit Program offers employers up to $2,400 per employee each year. And the Federal Bonding Program provides employers 6-month insurance policies that protect against theft or dishonesty with coverage ranging from $5,000 to $25,000. In addition, individuals on probation have to maintain employment as a condition of their release and most are drug tested by their probation officer at no expense to employers.
More information about the benefits of becoming a Second Chance employer and registration for the Second Chance Job and Resource Fair is online at www.harfordcountymd.gov/SecondChance or by calling 410-638-4807. Participants and vendors may also register at this time; however, more information for participants will be released in August.
More information about the Federal Bonding Program is available from Susquehanna Workforce Network at www.swnetwork.org or by contacting Sue Henry at 410-272-5400.