Second Chance Job Fair Connects Returning Citizens with Jobs

One of the biggest challenges for people who have been released from incarceration is finding a job. A 2018 report by Talent 2025 indicated less than 2% of West Michigan employers were hiring individuals with a prior conviction at that time

And yet, research shows that hiring people with criminal records can benefit not only the individuals, but the employers who hire them and the communities where they live and work.

A study by Thirty-Two-Two, an initiative advocating for post-incarceration employment opportunities in West Michigan, found that returning citizens tend to be more dedicated to their employers, with lower turn-over rates and higher productivity than other employees. And having a steady job has shown to decrease the chances that a person would commit another crime.

West Michigan Works! is hosting virtual job fair on Wednesday, August 26 for individuals who have been convicted of an offense and released from incarceration. The Second Chance job fair will feature “parolee-friendly employers. Parolee-friendly employers consider many factors when making hiring choices; in addition to skills and qualifications, they consider the type of conviction and the specific job duties/responsibilities of a position.

The Second Chance Job Fair is a win-win for returning citizens AND employers.


“Working with second chance programs has been an outstanding source of talent for our organization. We have been able to hire several amazing employees we would never have come across were it not for these programs.”
– John McMahon, senior HR generalist at Montage Furniture Services, participant in the upcoming job fair.

In addition to Montage, participating employers include Arrow Staffing, Alliance Home Health Care, Dean Transportation, Herbruck’s Poultry Ranch, Hutchinson Antivibration Systems, Metal Technologies, Middleville Tool & Die, Pioneer Resources and Praxis Packaging.

The Second Chance Job Fair allows participants to discuss prior convictions and employment skills directly with a potential employer. It provides them the opportunity to become more than their conviction and more than another application on the hiring manager’s desk.    

Interested? Registration for the Second Chance Job Fair is now closed. If you are register, check out these resources to prepare for the call.