Thousands of ex-felons attended a job fair in Dallas yesterday sponsored by the Texas Alliance for the Formerly Incarcerated, reports the Dallas Morning News. The attendance overwhelmed the fair’s 10 employers and its roster of faith-based groups and firms that help former felons clean up their records. Many attendees expressed gratitude for the job fair but lamented the small number of would-be employers and the types of jobs being offered. Fewer than 10 percent of employers invited to the fair took part.
The number of employers was so small that as people sweated outside and inside, an occasional voice would come over the public address system asking people to leave the building so others could get access to the businesses. Curtis Wilbert, vice president of the sponsoring group said, “It’s tough to get businesses to sign off on hiring the formerly incarcerated. Employers frown on hiring them. But it’s a start.” Some employers reported a small measure of success. A human resources representative for a trucking company said he had two or three potential employees apply at the job fair. One attendee, Police Chief David Kunkle, said, “I know we can’t arrest ourselves out of crime.” He added: “It’s really important to have people trained for jobs and for jobs to be ready for them.”