Second Chances For Ex-Offenders Begin With Finding A Job

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Each year thousands of ex-offenders come back to our communities and into a tough job market.

Making a successful transition back into society is important to them, of course, but in fact, we all have a stake in that outcome.

That's the aim of this job fair at Baldini's Wednesday.

It was the second step of an effort by the Statewide Prisoner Reentry Coalition to help ex-offenders find a job.

They face a number of hurdles.

We met Archie Ervin a month ago at the coalition's resource fair, the run up to Wednesday's job fair.

Ervin was convicted of leaving the scene of an accident.

He lost his job as a supervisor at UPS and is now starting all over again. He's serving out the last months of his sentence at the Northern Nevada Restitution Center.

Still in custody, but determined to find a job.

"I made a mistake," he told us. "I've since taken responsibility for that mistake and I'm doing everything I can to better myself."

Today he's working two jobs, one at a local restaurant, another at a car wash and he's gone back to college. He'll be released and rejoin his family in November.

Theresa Kleven came to Wednesday's job fair, not looking for a job, but wanting to network.

An experienced office manager, her life took a wrong turn into alcohol and crystal meth. She served a sentence for shoplifting and is now in a recovery program.

In four months she filled out more than 120 applications and got just a handful of call backs.

"In the space of four months I think I had five interviews. So, it was real discouraging."

She says her record is partially to blame, but adds her age and the damage meth did to her dental health is also holding her back.

She finally found work at a fast food restaurant, but continues to look and aim higher.

She's getting her teeth taken care of and like Archie, she's getting more education.

Inspite of her record she says she'd be a good hire. "I'm highly organized. I have good people skills. I'd be a good bet."

Her advice to others is to remain determined.

"Never give up. You may be just five minutes away from the miracle happening in your life. It will happen so never give up."