The city of Cleveland offers to match companies that have vacant jobs with qualified candidates. What the letters to businesses don’t say is that the job candidates have criminal records, says the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The free service, called the Employment Connection, is part of a 2-year-old program, Providing Real Opportunities for Ex-Offenders to Succeed. Director Allison Motz said the city is not trying to mislead employers but to get them to the table to evaluate the former prisoners in person. Her assistant, Rachel Loewy, said that if letters mentioned that job candidates are former inmates, many employers would probably throw it away.
Councilmen Joe Cimperman and Mike Polensek support the program but said the city should let employers know up front that the job candidates have criminal records. “We need to be open and honest and say: ‘This is who we’re sending,’ ” Polensek said. Adam Thurschwell, a criminal-law professor at Cleveland State University, said the city deserves credit for trying to help a population that’s difficult to employ. He doesn’t approve of failing to tell potential employers in the letter that the job candidates are former prisoners.