KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- It can be a struggle to find work with a rap sheet and the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department is trying to help those they have dealt with on the other side of the law find jobs.
The second annual Ex-Offender Hiring Fair took place Wednesday at South Patrol.
Experience has not been enough to overcome Dwight Chaplin’s felony record. He has been out of jail for a year-and-a half, bouncing from one low paying job to another while looking for a career.
“You get discourage real easily, especially when you get a lot of job offers and then you send the background check in to corporate and corporate turns it down," Chaplin said. "It's just like it`s really hard for sure and I’m trying my best and I just want to do better for my kids and I don`t want to go back to prison.”
Now Chaplin is surrounded by all sorts of opportunities thanks to the very people who put him in jail, the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department.
“This is a lifelong experience so to just put somebody in jail and then forget about them, that`s just not enough,” Officer Aaron Whitehead said, one of the organizers of the event.
This job fair not only offering opportunities to ex-offenders and local companies, but also to officers in this big city the ability to give small town service.
"You didn't just stop after you arrested somebody,” Whitehead said. “You knew him the next day and you knew him the next day and you knew him the next day and there was that community. So that`s what we`re trying to bring back and a large scale.”
KCPD bridging the gap and breaking down barriers with its hiring fair. Companies and organizations from all over the metro giving people a second chance.
Companies like Warehouseman Training, which teaches warehousing and forklift operation as well as provides job placement.
Last year, Warehouseman Training got 60 applications at the hiring fair, 20 of whom signed up and graduated.
“We have got very few stories of which they did not have success,” Curtis Gregory said. “All of our graduates wanting jobs found a job after they graduate our class.”
For most of these ex-offenders their only professional headshot is a mug shot, so a good picture to go along with a resume goes a long way down their new path.
“Being able to really pull out real genuine stuff from them they love it,” Tyler Walker said, owner of KC Headshots, who provided professional photos to all attendees. “To see them go to the pictures and see what they can look like and how they`ll be presented to the world, It's so fun, I love it!”
If you want to support or get involved in KCPD’s Ex-Offender Hiring Fair, call KCPD’s Community Interaction Office at 816-949-1634 or 816-672-2828.