Tennessee groups and agencies are collaborating throughout April to help formerly incarcerated people and justice-involved individuals — a term some agencies use to describe anyone who has ever been charged with a crime — find jobs and get legal aid.
An upcoming event planned in western Tennessee is aimed at providing employment services to people who have encountered difficulties finding jobs because of the stigma that experts say comes with a criminal record. This event is a part of National Second Chance Month, which has been recognized annually every April since 2017 and serves to highlight the roles of individuals, communities and agencies in supporting formerly incarcerated people.
To support justice-involved individuals, Tennessee’s Office of Reentry (OOR) scheduled multiple Second Chance Hiring and Resource events throughout the state.
The last of the three resource fairs will be at the Clarksville American Job Center on Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“An event like this one helps address these barriers and more by bringing together not only employers but also local and state supportive services,” Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development Chief Communications Officer Chris Cannon said. “The Office of Reentry hopes that these events will also allow conversations and connections to happen between stakeholders in the reentry field to further their effectiveness.”
Cannon said justice-involved individuals can face several barriers to getting jobs, including discrimination due to a previous criminal history, lack of education or job training opportunities, financial barriers, physical or mental health issues and legal restrictions.
At the event, attendees will have a chance to meet prospective employers and connect with community resources and consult with legal aid services about record expungement.
One group that will be represented at Friday’s resource fair is the Tennessee Supreme Court’s Access to Justice Commission, which provides