Helping Individuals with criminal records Reenter through Employment

Ohio

I. Ohio Department of Job and Family Services

Contact:
Ohio Department of Job and Family Services
30 E. Broad St., 32nd Floor
Columbus, OH 43215
614-466-6282
614-466-2815 fax
Web Site: www.state.oh.us/odjfs/index.stm

Information about State Department of Labor resources may be of interest to:
• potential employers looking for incentives to hire individuals with criminal histories;
• service providers and individuals with criminal histories who are looking for assistance in finding employment; and
• researchers and policy makers looking at current programs to ascertain what programs are effective and serve their intended purpose.

A. Federal Bonding Program
The Federal Bonding Program provides fidelity bonding insurance coverage to individuals with criminal histories and other high-risk job applicants who are qualified, but fail to get jobs because regular commercial bonding is denied due to their backgrounds.

Contact:
Bureau of Quality and Community Partnerships
Ohio Department of Rehab. & Correction
1050 Freeway Drive North
Columbus, OH 43229
614-728-1534
614-995-0128 fax

B. Tax Credits
The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) is a federal tax credit to reduce the federal tax liability of private for profit employers to be used as an incentive for employers to hire individuals from eight different targeted groups: TANF recipients, veterans, ex-felons, high risk youth, summer youth, Food Stamp recipients, SSI recipients, and vocational rehabilitation referrals.

Contact:
Ohio Department of Job and Family Services
Bureau of Tax Credits - WOTC/WtW Unit
145 South Front St., 2nd Floor
Columbus, OH 43215
614-644-7206
614-644-7102 fax
Web Site: www.state.oh.us/odjfs/wotc/contact.stm

C. Unemployment Insurance Office
Unemployment compensation is a social insurance program designed to provide benefits to most individuals out of work, generally through no fault of their own, for periods between jobs. In order to be eligible for benefits, jobless workers must demonstrate that they have worked, usually measured by amount of wages and/or weeks of work, and must be able and available for work.

The unemployment compensation program is based upon federal law, but administered by states under state law.

Applicants can register by phone at 877-644-6562 (1-877-OHIO JOB). Information about local offices can be found at: www.state.oh.us/odjfs/onestop. (See also Section VII of this site “Local Service Providers.”)

Contact:
Bureau of Unemployment Compensation
Ohio Department of Job and Family Services
P.O. Box 923
Columbus, OH 43216
800-251-6237
614-466-6873 fax
Web Site: www.state.oh.us/odjfs/ouc

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II. Criminal Record Repository

This is the agency individuals may contact to obtain a copy of their state rap sheet. The criminal record repository can also tell the individual who else is legally entitled to have access to his or her record.

A civilian fingerprint card must be requested from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation. This form/fingerprint card also contains a waiver that must be signed by the person whose criminal record is being requested. A certified check or money order for $15 payable to “Treasurer, State of Ohio” must accompany the request card.

Contact:
Identification Division
Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification & Investigation
1560 State Route 56 SW
P.O. Box 365
London, OH 43140
740-845-2000
740-845-2633 fax
Web Site: www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov/bci.aspx/?from=nav

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III. State Attorney General

Employers and service providers may obtain information from the state attorney general regarding occupational bars, the licensing of individuals with criminal records in certain jobs, and whether the state has laws that limit what employers may ask job applicants or protections against employment discrimination based on a criminal record.

Contact:
Office of the Attorney General
State Office Tower
30 E. Broad St., 17th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215
614-466-4320
Web Site: www.ag.state.oh.us/default.asp

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IV. State Department of Corrections

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V. Adult Parole Authority

The Adult Parole Authority (APA) is a section of the Division of Parole and Community Services that collaborates with the ODRC institutions to continue efforts for offender employment. With the help of the Offender Job Linkage Administrators from the ODRC, the Adult Parole Authority staff facilitates interviews between employers and offenders in the parole offices.

Contact:
Division of Parole & Community Services
Adult Parole Authority
1050 Freeway Drive North
Columbus, OH 43229
614-752-1258
614-752-1251 fax
Web Site: www.drc.state.oh.us/web/apa.htm

Contact:
Division of Parole and Community Services
Offender Services Network
1050 Freeway Drive, North
Columbus, OH 43229
614-995-3588
614-752-1289 fax

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VI. Legal Assistance

Free or low-cost legal resources, both in civil and criminal law, are helpful to individuals with criminal histories in learning about relevant state laws governing the expungement or sealing of criminal histories or addressing other legal issues resulting from having a criminal history.

A. State Public Defender

Contact:
Office of the Ohio Public Defender
8 East Long St., 11th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215
614-466-5394 or 800-686-1573
Web Site: www.state.oh.us/opd

B. Legal Services

This web site has a complete list of free and low-cost service providers in Ohio. Information about local services is available at www.oslsa.org/OSLSA/PublicWeb/LegalSvcs.

Contact:
Ohio State Legal Services Association
555 Buttles Ave.
Columbus, OH 43215
614-221-7201 or 800-589-5888
614-221-7625 fax
Web Site: www.oslsa.org

Christian Legal Services (CLS) provides a wide variety of civil legal services to the poor and homeless. Clients must meet similar financial requirements as Legal Aid. Because it is an independent provider, the organization is also able to help those whom Legal Aid is unable to serve, including illegal immigrants and those currently incarcerated. CLS has recently begun a partnership with Community Reentry, a local service provider, to help clients examine their criminal records. This service is available to anyone, not only Community Reentry clients.

Contact:
Christian Legal Services of Cleveland, Inc.
1836 Euclid Ave., Suite 303
Cleveland, OH 44115
216-574-2593 legal intake, 216-621-4554 executive director
216-621-4555 fax
E-Mail: clscsa@core.com

The Ohio Justice and Policy Center (OJPC) is a non-partisan, nonprofit, public interest law office based in Cincinnati, Ohio. OJPC works statewide for fair-minded, progressive reform of Ohio's justice system.

Contact:
Ohio Justice and Policy Center
617 Vine Street, Suite 1309
Cincinnati, OH 45202
513) 421-1108
513)562-3200 fax
E-Mail: contact@ohiojpc.org
Web Site: www.ohiojpc.org

C. State Bar Association

Contact:
Ohio State Bar Association
1700 Lake Shore Drive
Columbus, OH 43204
800-282-6556, 614-487-2050 Franklin County
614-487-1008 fax
E-Mail: osba@ohiobar.org
Web Site: www.ohiobar.org

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VII. Local Service Providers

Community agencies are available to assist individuals with criminal records find employment. This information will inform individuals with criminal records about government agencies and community-based organizations that assist with employment, education or vocational training. Researchers and policy makers may find this information useful in identifying agencies and service providers in order to evaluate the effectiveness of these programs.

Community Connections

Community Connections focuses on helping recently released inmates prepare for and find employment. Case managers begin by ascertaining and addressing basic needs, including transportation, housing, and identification, that might create barriers in allowing participants to find or maintain employment. They then carry out an in-house employment assessment which is used both to identify training needs and as a marketing tool to help market participants to employers by providing them with a full source of information. Participants are offered five different workshops, which teach such skills as resume writing, completing job applications, and answering difficult interview questions. Other services include classes, support groups, assistance with medical issues and bus passes, a computer GED tutorial, which participants can use by themselves, and a clothing closet to provide participants with clothing for interviews, as well as referrals to other resources in the community. The organization continues working with participants until they are placed in jobs and case managers will continue to track them for at least six months after placement in case problems arise. Additionally, the organization has both a men’s and a women’s group at the county jail, which meet twice a week for four weeks to explore issues such as self-esteem. There is also another program at the work release facility which meets twice a month to begin linking with inmates who do not have jobs.

Contact:
Community Connections
993 East Main St.
Columbus, OH 43205
614-252-0660, ext. 73 or 888-993-6246, ext. 73
614-252-0158 fax
Web Site: www.communityconnectionohio.com

Community Linkage

Community Linkage’s program provides most of the same services as Community Connections. Its main focus is on assisting anyone returning to the Hamilton area in finding employment, while simultaneously providing social services to try to meet the individual’s other needs, including shelter, food, transportation, identification, and other barriers that might prevent the individual from finding or keeping employment. The program also offers employment readiness and life skills classes.

Contact:
Community Linkage
116 South 2nd St.
Hamilton, OH 48011
513-785-5746
513-785-5728 fax

Goodwill Industries

Goodwill Industries of Cleveland, Inc. has a Post-Release Service Center which offers individualized services to help clients overcome personal barriers to employment, including assistance with substance abuse, anger management, financial management, job seeking, clothing, housing, and food. Each client undergoes an initial evaluation upon intake to identify individual needs. Goodwill has a database of employers with whom it has long relationships, who know that all clients have criminal records and who let the organization know when they have possible openings. Staff then alert their clients to the opening, select a group to send over for interviews, and send a member of staff as support. Goodwill asks that clients remain a minimum of 30 days in a placement, so that they can get familiar with a job and the requirements of the working environment. Additionally, clients are followed for a year after placement in case any problems arise, and the organization has an open-door policy for former clients. Individuals with three failed placements are reevaluated and the process begins again.

Contact:
Goodwill Industries of Greater Cleveland, Inc.
2295 E. 55th St.
Cleveland, OH 44103
216-431-8300 ext 282
216-431-4504 fax
Web Site: www.goodwil-cleveland.org

Community Reentry

Community Reentry oversees 16 programs, each targeted towards assisting different populations in preparing for and finding employment following release from incarceration. Services include job placement and readiness and case management. Clients are also referred to assistance with emergency housing, job training, and substance abuse problems.

Contact:
Community Reentry
1468 West 25th St.
Cleveland, OH 44113
216-696-2717

Women's Re-Entry Network

The Women’s Re-Entry Network is a program within Community Reentry that focuses entirely on women with criminal records. Services include assessment, intensive case management, individual and group counseling, and parenting classes. The Network also offers information and referrals for housing, employment and other needs. It has offices in the county jail and local women’s prison offering support groups and case management. The Network acts as a bridge to services on the outside for women who are being released.

Contact:
Women's Re-Entry Network
1468 West 25th St.
Cleveland, OH 44113
216-696-7535
216-696-7317 fax

Towards Employment

Toward Employment supports individuals in making the transition into the work place. In addition to supportive services, the agency offers job readiness and life skills workshops, GED preparation, and computer skills instruction. Job placement and job retention support is also offered to participants. Towards Employment has offered its services to low-income individuals and recently assumed management and delivery of the “Ex-offenders and Legal Services” programs formerly offered by Cleveland Works.

Contact:
Towards Employment
1224 Huron Rd., 2nd Fl.
Cleveland, OH 44115
216-696-5750
216-696-5119 fax
Web Site: www.towardsemployment.org

AGAPE/Community Reentry Program

The Community Reentry Program is an outgrowth of the AGAPE prison ministries program. Both programs are part of Christians in the Hood, a faith-based organization. Transition planning begins during incarceration focusing on developing life plans and identifying goals and issues that will be faced upon release. When an individual is released from prison, a needs assessment is done to determine the appropriate level of assistance required. Linkages are made with community agencies to further individual goals. Employment resources, accountability group counseling and educational services are all provided.

Contact:
Agape/Community Reentry Program
1378 Loretta Avenue
Columbus, OH 43211
614 477-4931

Transitions Program/Akron Urban League

The Akron Urban League’s Transitions Program assists individuals with non-violent misdemeanors and felony convictions. The program offers job placement assistance and three weeks of job readiness training, including workshops in preparing a resume and increasing interviewing skills.

Contact:
Transitions Program
Akron Urban League
250 E. Market St.
Akron, OH 44308
330-434-3101
330-434-2716 fax
Web Site: www.akronul.org

Providing Real Opportunities for Ex-Offenders to Succeed (PROES)

Providing Real Opportunities for Ex-Offenders to Succeed (PROES) is a project of the Cleveland One-Stop Career Center. The program focuses on immediate employment augmented with support services. PROES works in conjunction with the Employment Solutions Program of Alternatives Agency Inc., a halfway house for formerly incarcerated individuals. The intensive two-week program includes life skills training, communication skills, and job readiness preparation.

Contact:
Employment Connection
1020 Bolivar Road
Cleveland, OH 44115
216-664-4673
216-664-2981 fax

Solid Opportunities for Advancement and Retention

Solid Opportunities for Advancement and Retention (SOAR), a project of the Greater Cincinnati Urban League, provides a combination of short-term education and training services with job placement assistance for African-American and Appalachian males and females. This six-week pre-employment training provides job readiness skills for people who may have employment barriers due to lack of work experience, lack of education/training, or criminal backgrounds. The project accepts walk-in applicants.

Contact:
SOAR Program
Greater Cincinnati Urban League
3458 Reading Road
Cincinnati, OH 45229
513-281-9955
513-281-0466 fax
Web Site: www.gcul.org

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