Nonprofits and Tax Incentives
There are quite a few nonprofit and government-sponsored organizations dedicated to helping ex-cons and former felons find work in the everyday world. If you are getting out of prison, or have been released but are having trouble finding a job, there are options. This is because a number of companies actually get state and federal tax breaks for hiring former felons, and they may even have an in-house quota for hiring, which could work in your favor. Whatever you do, make sure not to lie on any applications and find a way to frame the nature of the conviction in a way that shows that you have learned from your mistakes and are looking to go down the straight and narrow path forevermore, and the employer can help by giving you a chance.
Anyone who has been out long enough can tell you about the trouble finding work folloing their release. In today's economy, many businesses will not hire anyone who has been out of work for more than a few months, let alone anyone with an arrest record. Even so, there are some job categories that offer breaks for former prisoners, and those on work-release, and after building a work history you can often move up or get other employment in an area that is more to your liking.
Work Opportunity Tax Credit
The list below is by no means comprehensive, and mainly shows major companies that have gone on record to say that they will hire ex-cons in certain positions. If you don't have any of these companies nearby, you can often get work at local small businesses, or through friends and relatives, which you can use to build up a work history (and make a little money) until an opportunity opens up.
NOTICE: We used to have a list but it was discovered that some companies had changed their policies as a result of negative publicity. Some of the most common company types that will hire ex-cons include construction companies, farmers, trucking companies, fast food outlets, independent restaurants, work-at-home jobs, telemarketing firms, collection agencies, and independent businesses. You may even be able to start your own company and hire yourself, but it is important to be aware of all the licensing and reporting requirements.
Don't Forget The Army
In some cases the armed services, like the Army and Marine Corps, will hire felons depending on the criminal charges and when the instances occured. There are even felony waivers for recruiting in some situations, so it does not hurt to ask.