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Great Places for Second (or Third) Chance Employment in and Near Suffolk, Franklin Southampton and Smithfield/Isle of Wight

by | Apr 8, 2024 | Community Resources, Local Community

Forward, Together with western tidewater community services board

A criminal conviction can have a profound impact on your life. After release, you’ll likely face new challenges that can discourage you or even set you back on your plans for a new life. 

Many ex-offenders find that getting a job is the most difficult challenge they face during this transitional period. If you’ve struggled to find and keep a job since leaving incarceration, here are some places in Suffolk and the surrounding area where you can find help.

Related: How To Make Friends in the Western Tidewater Area of Virginia

Great Places To Find Second (or Third) Chance Employment in the Western Tidewater Area of Virginia

The Returning Citizen Career and Wellness Fair

In honor of National Second Chance Month, The Urban League of Hampton Roads, The Office of the Attorney General and Revive Community of Virginia are hosting a second chance job fair in Norfolk on Saturday, April 13th, 2024. The Returning Citizen Career and Wellness Fair will feature at least 20 to 30 local employers providing second chance employment. There will also be resources for those reentering society available at the event, including some from the DMV, affordable housing organizations, and veteran and healthcare services.

Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares says that the reason the fair was created is that the biggest barrier after release is getting employment:

“I would visit some of Virginia’s prisons, and I would ask to meet with the inmates and get their perspective about both while they were incarcerated. Also, I would meet with those that were in the process of paying their debt and reentering society. The number one thing I kept hearing from these gentlemen was, ‘I made some bad choices in my life, but I’m ready to turn my life around.’ The number one anxiety was, ‘Can I find work?

Miyares goes on to say:

“We want to make it easy and convenient for people that want to find work, that want to start that next chapter, to connect with employers that are anxious to find those that are ready to start that next chapter.”

Returning Citizen Career and Wellness Fair

Date: Saturday, April 13th, 2024
Time: 9:00 am to 1:00 pm
Location: Calvary Revival Church, 5755 Poplar Hall Drive, Norfolk, VA 23502

The Virginia Bonding Program

The national Federal Bonding Program provides fidelity bonds for “at-risk,” hard-to-place job seekers. The Virginia Bonding Program is specifically for individuals with convictions. Some employers are willing to hire ex-offenders, but are concerned about potential risks to their business. This program provides bonds to Virginia employers to protect their business from any potential financial losses. The bonds cover the first six months of employment at no cost to the job applicant or the employer and encourage employers to provide second chance employment.

To get started with the Virginia Bonding Program, you can request a program eligibility letter, which you can use in your job search to let potential employers know that you’re a bonded candidate.

Related: Felon-Friendly Apartments Near Suffolk, Franklin, Chesapeake, Norfolk and More 

Honest Jobs isn’t a local Virginia organization, but it is nationally recognized as a helpful resource for individuals with convictions looking for work. Honest Jobs will connect you with second chance employment opportunities in your area, as well as other supports. All you have to do to get started is visit and fill out a short registration form.

Goodwill of Central and Coastal Virginia

You might know Goodwill for their thrift stores, but this organization also provides employment and employment resources, including second chance employment. 

Goodwill’s reentry program provides job search assistance, including help with and education on:

  • Preparing for employment
  • Disclosing a criminal record
  • Understanding the job application process
  • Interviewing best practices
  • Restoration of Civil Rights
  • Obtaining a driver’s license and housing
  • Bonding program
  • Expungement process

Virginia resident Nathaniel Winston used Goodwill’s reentry services in 2017 when he was released from prison after 30 years. 

Nathaniel says:

“It can be done. You can make the transition from prison to a successful citizen.”

Terry Gates, an employment specialist with Goodwill, worked with Nathaniel to help him in his job search:

“We were able to create a resume tailored for labor-related employment, based on his trades education. We also went over the process of disclosing his criminal background to employers. I also told Nathaniel he should physically walk into businesses, fill out an application and connect with a hiring manager.”

With the support he got from the program, Nathaniel got a job within two months of his release. Today, he oversees warehouse operations for Epoxy Systems, a flooring manufacturing company in Richmond. 

About his experience finding second chance employment, Nathaniel says:

“Getting a job isn’t just about having money. It gives you a sense of worth – you can say ‘yes, I did that.’”

Get Post-Incarceration Support at Western Tidewater Community Services Board

Life after a conviction can be challenging. Finding a job, reintegrating into your community, connecting with old friends and figuring out your role in your family can be difficult, especially if you’ve been away for a long time. On top of all that, you’ll likely face stigma and discrimination. 

If you’ve been struggling with your mental health or substance abuse since coming home, we want to help. WTCSB is your local, compassionate behavioral health care team. We provide affordable and accessible mental health, substance abuse and developmental disorder services for all of our community members.

Related: What To Expect at Your First Appointment at WTCSB

Get started by making an appointment for same-day access online, calling us at 757-758-5106 or walking into one of our clinic locations

Let’s move forward, together.

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