A few weeks ago, I had to have my car windshield repaired so I ventured into the online directory to find someone, reliable, who could fix it.
What I found was a lesson in how another person with a felony conviction is turning his life around and making money while pursuing his own business.
Without knowing anything about windshield repair, I simply picked a location that was listen in the online Yellow Pages website and found a windshield repair guy who said he had a location set up in front of an oil repair shop close to my house. He said he could repair my windshield within 30 minutes and accepted cash or credit. So, I headed out the door. When I arrived at the windshield repair location, I was greeted by Deion – who proudly told me his story.
Deion was involved with gang-related violence at a young age and sent to prison for 14 years. After being released from jail, he found that earning a decent living was hard with a felony conviction and a long time with no work history. One day, while looking for jobs online, he came across a “commission only” job that was offered for anyone that wanted to learn how to do windshield repair. He went to work, and learned the skill in 3 days. From there, he purchased a canopy – got a business name and tax ID #, and started marketing his own windshield company – offering mobile services as well as repair at specific locations. He connected with various oil change shops in the area and asked if he could rent a small space in their parking lots – offering to draw customers to their location with his services.
This individual, who lives with a felony conviction, has found work.
While it was not easy at first, he was able to find a job by creating his own and learning a skill that was in high demand. If you are looking for a job for felons in this distressed economy, consider doing windshield repair. Learn from someone who is already in the business, get a tax ID # and buy glass at wholesale, and start marketing your services. Even if you don’t have a truck to engage in mobile repair, set up shop with one or two repair shops in your area and you may find that you’ll have a decent income without regard to your felony record.
When looking for a job, after a felony conviction, we often find that there are some challenges with employers. While there are federal tax credits, and state tax credits, given to employers who hire felons, most are not aware of the benefits they can get.
To complicate this matter further, there are some states that plan to change the tax credit benefits for hiring felons – often without even alerting employers to the changes. For example, the state of Illinois has a sponsored bill to take the $1600.00 tax credit and extend it from the current option of one-year post incarceration to a 3-year post incarceration. Once the bill passes into law (if it passes) then the challenge will be to advise employers of the change.
If you are a person with a felony conviction it is important, as you look for work, to find employers that understand what their tax credit options are and, when they aren’t aware, to educate them accordingly.
While its unfortunate that we have to carry the burden, it is a fact that most employers are ignorant to the benefits of hiring an ex-offender and we must fight to educate society and those that will potentially employ us.