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Post-rehab, your priority should be to stay firm on the commitment towards achieving a successful recovery. While it is best to stay clear of stressors, financial stress is one that you’ll need to address head-on. Finding a job post-rehab is challenging, and those with a felony record can expect to face additional hurdles. In this article by Ree Career, we explore the various avenues recovering felons can utilize to reenter the workforce and support themselves financially.

Research Company Policies 

The prospect of a background check can hinder your confidence in applying for positions that seem like a good fit; however, recent policy changes prevent employers from conducting these checks until a conditional offer has been made.

In 2016, the Obama administration introduced the Fair Change Pledge, which is supported by numerous major organizations in the country like Apple, Google, The Coca-Cola Company, Facebook, and more. As reported by Accurate, in 2020, the Trump administration created the Fair Chance Act, which prevents government agencies and federal-level contractors from conducting background checks at the preliminary stages of a job application. Additionally, questions related to disclosing past criminal history have also been removed from applications.

These changes have significantly reduced barriers to employment for individuals with past felonies. Having relevant work experience and a great interview can increase your chances of landing a job much more than before.

Apply to Small Businesses.

Having connections in the community can help you get referred for roles, increasing the chances of getting hired. Small businesses conduct background checks so employers can express reservations regarding your past during interviews. Along with highlighting your skills and experience to emphasize greater importance on your potential and the past, inform employers about the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC), which they can avail themselves of by onboarding you as an employee.

As reported by HiringThing, through the WOTC, employers can avail of tax credits amounting to up to 40% of wages for a new employee. In subsequent years, this benefit can cover 25% of annual wages. Not only does this program provide incentives for small businesses to hire those from target groups (ex-felons being one of them), but it expands the number of job opportunities where you can apply.

Try Freelancing.

There are various online job marketplaces employers use to hire professionals on a per-project basis. Given that employers often need these projects completed on a short timeline, background checks are not part of the hiring process. But a large influence will be placed on your skills and portfolio.

Freelancing projects are a great way to earn an income while looking for a steady job. Additionally, it provides you the freedom to step away from work as and when needed to focus on your health.

Start Your Own Business

Being your boss overcomes all the challenges one faces during the hiring process. Your first step as an entrepreneur will be to create a business plan which includes insights regarding your product offerings, financial needs (whether you’ll bootstrap or apply for external funding), marketing strategies, and specific time-bound goals.

Obtaining funding from federal/state-level grants and banks can be challenging for those with a criminal record. But don’t fret as there are various low-cost business ideas to explore:

  • Dropshipping: As a dropshipper, your responsibility is to promote products on social media or e-commerce websites and drive sales. The fulfillment of these products will be handled by a supplier you partner with. The supplier will be paid a commission, but the more you sell, the more you’ll earn.
  • Services Business: If your freelancing endeavor is a profitable one, consider converting it into a full-fledged business. This includes establishing a limited liability company, increasing the number of clients, and hiring 1-2 employees to manage the increased workload.

For more insights on being an entrepreneur, refer to this easy guide on starting a new business.

Finding a job will take a lot of stress off your shoulders and make the recovery process smoother. With laws such as the Fair Chance Act, seek to apply to all positions you deem to be a good fit. If traditional roles are proving hard to find, freelancing will always be an option to explore.

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