When looking for work as an ex-felon, it is important to note that many felon friendly jobs in Colorado may no longer be so. The list changes often, so before applying and getting let down, try to confirm whether the company still employs ex-inmates.
Some sources available for ex-felons in Colorado to help them find employment are:
- Bayaud Enterprises (http://www.bayaudenterprises.org/): Ex-felons can find useful training programs through Bayaud, which helps to give them many skills needed in the workplace. Through their job placement services, this organization will also help employers and employees resolve issues that may occur.
- Turn About Program (TAP) (http://www.turnaboutprogram.org/): The St. Francis Center Employment Services initiative of TAP, part of the Our Savior’s Lutheran Church outreach program helps with training and assists former prisoners in finding jobs. They operate a drop-in service where you can get advice or help with resumes and other services.
- Project ReNew (http://dicp.org/community-support/renew/): This project of the Denver Inner City Parish helps felons, both male and female with a number of services including job search and clothing. They also offer mentoring and other support services.
- Denver Works Ministry (http://www.denverworks.org/programsservices.html): Provides services that help former inmates to better prepare when applying for jobs by providing clothing. Former inmates will also have the use of a computer lab to write resumes or do research with the help of staff if needed, as well as counselling.
Some companies to look into when seeking felon friendly jobs in Denver or anywhere in Colorado include:
- Academy Roofing (http://academyroofinginc.com/)
- Applebee’s (http://academyroofinginc.com/)
- Amarak (http://www.aramark.com/)
- American barricade (http://www.americanbarricadecompany.com/)
Many fast-food and restaurant chains will employ former felons. You need to remember however, that some crimes may prevent you from landing jobs even with felon-friendly employers. It is necessary to check with the companies listed above, to see if they still employ felons as some make changes depending on their experiences.
How to Find Housing for Felons in Colorado
A place to live is a primary need for people released from prison. Some newly released felons can always return home or find lodgings with family members or friends while others are not so lucky. Project ReNew (http://dicp.org/community-support/renew/) also helps with rental assistance for ex-felons in the Denver area.
Church-based organizations can provide information on transitional housing. Sometimes churches may even be able to assist with permanent housing. Other ex-felons can also offer information on where to find housing and how to go about it. Remember that they would have been there too.
Even if you are a felon, this may not be enough to prevent you from getting federal housing assistance. The only way to determine this is to go to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD) to check if you can benefit under one of their low-income program.
Useful Programs for Felons in Colorado
Even before their release from prison, felons can access programs that help them get back on their feet. Some organizations and websites that exist to help ex-felons are:
- 2ndchancesforfelons.com: This website offers support to ex-felons across the country. It lists by state the programs and organizations that can help with some of the issues ex-felons have to deal with.
- Guidance Behind the Walls (http://www.islamicfinder.org/getitWorld.php?id=68777&lang=english): This non-profit organization works with and for ex-felons offering help with job referrals, preparation for job searches, housing, food and many other services newly released prisoners may need.
- Own Your Future (http://www.denverpost.com/ci_23585881/new-prison-program-aims-rehabilitate-colorado-convicts): This is a new program operated by CollegeInColorado.org that helps parolees and former convicts make a new start. The program assists with job preparation services including resume writing. It also offers assistance on finding housing and applying for college.
- E-Colorada Re-Entry Services (https://e-colorado.coworkforce.com/File.aspx?ID=24271): This program works with ex-inmates as they begin life outside prison walls. They provide help with job preparation, tools, housing assistance, clothing and even healthcare.
To get back on their feet, some ex-inmates need access to education to start careers. However, felons generally have a strike against them and are barred from getting some educational grants and financial aid. However, there are grants and certain types of financial aid available to ex-felons. For example, you may be able to get financial aid for school if you meet certain requirements even if you have a felony conviction on your record. The Step Ahead (http://www.iseek.org/exoffenders/expand-skills/financial-aid-felonies.html) website is a good starting point to see if you qualify for some types of federal financial aid.
While not a service aimed primarily at ex-felons, Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition (http://www.ccjrc.org/recent-accomplishments.shtml) is a good place to seek information. Dedicated to keeping people out of prison the CCJRC works with community leaders to provide programs to help those most likely to end up behind bars.
Finding felon friendly jobs in Colorado should start with seeking the help of people involved with the prison population and recently released felons. Many of these persons would know which organizations are best able to offer assistance to those in need. They may even know of companies and businesses that employ ex-felons. The Internet is also a major source of not only felon-friendly employers, but also of information on programs for felons in Colorado.