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West End job fair helps connect felons with expungement experts

Posted at 11:57 PM, Feb 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-23 00:33:48-05

CINCINNATI -- Quincy Richardson has been looking for what he calls "a good job" -- one that doesn't force him to scrape in order to afford his bills and his son's college tuitions -- for over a decade. 

"I'd love to drive a truck," he said Thursday night. "Get my CDL, drive everywhere."

One of the things that holds him back, he said, is his past. Richardson is a felon, and background checks quickly rule him out of many jobs he'd like to pursue.

Men with criminal records like Richardson's comprise 34 percent of non-working American men between the ages of 25 and 54, according to a 2014 Kaiser Family Foundation Poll.

That's where Dale Mallory comes in. The Mallory Workforce Initiative held a job fair in the West End Thursday with expungement experts on hand. Richardson was just one of the many job-seekers -- some with records, some without -- who stopped by in search of opportunity.

"One thing that stops our community is fear," Mallory said. "The fear of, ‘Hey, don't do that. That's how they're going to get you.'"

An expungement and a support system can help allay that fear, expert Rufus Johnson said. He works as a liaison between job seekers with criminal backgrounds and lawyers who can explore legal options to clean up their records.

"It's a second chance," he said. "This gives felons a chance to get their lives back in order."

Job seekers who were unable to attend Thursday's event can reach out to the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky Apartment Association, one of the job fair's sponsors, to connect with Mallory, Johnson and other employment resources.