The Challenges of Employment after Prison

One of the biggest problems some of our Job & Leadership Training students face is finding a company that will hire people with a record. You have probably noticed when applying for a job that many applications include a box on criminal history. Once an employer sees that box checked, the application often goes straight into the trash. 

In Missouri, the 2015 unemployment rate for residents on parole was 44%. That is drastically different than the overall state unemployment rate of 4.2% (MO Dept. of Corrections). Some companies like Target, Walmart, and Home Depot don’t include criminal background questions on initial applications, but people with criminal records still can face a cascade of rejection letters and lost interview opportunities. For people trying to turn their life around, the constant rejection can take its toll.  

At Mission: St. Louis we address these issues through Beyond Jobs. Our job training opportunities are essential for young men who have had little to no job experience. We are also able to expand on people’s experience to more specific trades, like furniture restoration with Anew Nature. Hire St. Louis and the Job & Leadership Training Program (JLT) also focus on creating good relationships with employers so we can connect businesses with great employees despite past criminal convictions. 

It is estimated that 70 million people in the US have a criminal conviction or prior arrest record. That’s close to one in three US adults. It can be overwhelming for a person with a criminal record to try to restart their life. We are thankful to be able to have an impact here in St. Louis but there are people all over the country looking for resources. One great resource is We were lucky enough to connect with this organization and are excited that they have agreed to add us as a Missouri resource on their website.

JobsforFelonsHub is dedicated to helping those who have gone through the criminal justice system and are looking for successful reentry into society. They have substantial information on jobs, housing opportunities (another task often made difficult by a criminal record), legal representation, and reentry programs. Their website provides free downloadable guides with clear in-depth information and organizes resources by state.

You can check out the website here.

Rebecca Harbison