CLOSINGS: View Closings

Skilled to Work: Second Chance Job Fairs aim to connect underemployed and parolees to available jobs

Event organizers said the job fairs were inspired by one held in Birmingham last year.

Posted: Feb 7, 2019 12:44 PM
Updated: Feb 7, 2019 5:41 PM

Dozens of people shuffled from booth to booth Thursday morning in Decatur. The folks at Ingalls Harbor were eagerly looking at a wide array of job opportunities at the Second Chance Job Fair.

A number of those who passed through face a unique challenge when hunting for a job: they have a criminal record.

Dozens of employers were on hand at the Second Chance Job Fair in Decatur on Thursday. All of the booths present represented available jobs across the Tennessee Valley. Dozens of employers were on hand at the Second Chance Job Fair in Decatur on Thursday. All of the booths present represented available jobs across the Tennessee Valley.

“It was kind of like a shocker at first because I didn't really think that nothing like that existed,” said Chris Minor.

Minor is about a month into his parole. He said the Second Chance Job Fair gives him the chance to talk with employers who won’t automatically dismiss him for past offenses.

“Coming out of prison, I thought people really would give you a chance like they're giving us. So I think it's awesome,” said Minor.

Organizers told WAAY 31, this is the first Second Chance Job Fair being hosted in north Alabama. Penny Townson, the vice president of Morgan County Economic Development, said a similar fare in Birmingham inspired it.

She added that an unemployment level below three percent is forcing companies to find creative methods to fill the demand for workers.

“Our unemployment hasn’t been low enough that you’ve had to get more creative about where you find that work and we really do now,” said Townson.

The job fair is not only aimed at people who have criminal pasts, but also those who are underemployed.

“That’s about 10,000 in Morgan County. These are people who are working in jobs,but are capable of doing more and are consistently looking for more work. That's one group we want to make sure we’re hitting,” said Townson.

And Morgan County isn’t alone in this effort. On February 27, Madison County will host its own Second Chance Job Fair at the Jaycee Community Building on Airport Road.

Lydia Pennington, the industry relations director for the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce, said both counties were interested in the idea of such a job fair. They believe working together creates a greater impact.

“We both were interested in hosting this type of job fair and it gives a regional approach and also helps with our voice to reach a larger audience,” said Pennington.

On Thursday and Friday, there are also seminars hosted at Calhoun’s Adult Education center to teach skills like resume formatting and navigating an interview. Sessions are held twice a day: from 9 a.m. to noon and the other from 1 p.m. till 4 p.m.

“We have to give them tools that they can actually use and then allow them to use them and then we critique that so that they have something to go out and actually use,” said Brenda Bryson, an instructor at Alabama Ready to Work.

Meanwhile, Minor remarks that events like the pair of Second Chance Job Fairs are invaluable for someone like him, who’s just trying to make a positive impact on the community as part of the workforce.

“Probably becoming a truck driver. I already got my CDS and had my CDS for 20 plus years. So I'll probably get back in the trucking industry,” said Minor.

To register for the job fair in Huntsville, click here.

Huntsville/Redstone
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 61°
Muscle Shoals
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 64°
Huntsville/Madison
Clear
60° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 60°
Decatur
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 61°
Fort Payne
Clear
60° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 60°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 499411

Reported Deaths: 10149
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson719951403
Mobile36396741
Madison32674469
Tuscaloosa24391423
Montgomery22789523
Shelby22250219
Baldwin19915289
Lee15070161
Calhoun13961296
Morgan13785255
Etowah13413327
Marshall11458215
Houston10121264
Elmore9509190
Limestone9435139
St. Clair9050228
Cullman8993183
Lauderdale8628214
DeKalb8507175
Talladega7643165
Walker6600260
Jackson6551104
Autauga634492
Blount6252128
Colbert6007121
Coffee5261104
Dale4680107
Russell407534
Franklin400779
Covington3996107
Chilton3911104
Escambia379473
Tallapoosa3637143
Clarke344553
Chambers3432111
Dallas3428142
Pike292973
Marion288796
Lawrence285787
Winston258568
Bibb246058
Marengo244657
Geneva240270
Pickens225757
Barbour213851
Hale212569
Fayette202657
Butler201466
Henry183541
Cherokee178140
Monroe166739
Randolph165141
Washington157036
Macon147845
Crenshaw146755
Clay146254
Cleburne140141
Lamar133933
Lowndes133151
Wilcox123225
Bullock117736
Conecuh107224
Perry106427
Sumter100832
Coosa90324
Greene88732
Choctaw55723
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 782206

Reported Deaths: 11543
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby878791517
Davidson82125874
Knox46447589
Hamilton40698463
Rutherford38749388
Williamson25489204
Sumner21542320
Montgomery17539213
Out of TN1718496
Wilson16618211
Unassigned15837126
Sullivan14499275
Blount14189184
Bradley13067141
Washington12840234
Maury12273162
Sevier12158165
Putnam10660170
Madison10136232
Robertson9027121
Anderson8103158
Hamblen8088166
Greene7315145
Tipton6974103
Coffee6432115
Dickson6295106
Gibson6200141
Cumberland6137123
Carter5998155
McMinn597193
Roane594696
Bedford5841120
Loudon573666
Jefferson5717119
Lawrence558083
Monroe539591
Warren533377
Hawkins529598
Dyer5248101
Franklin476585
Fayette468773
Obion437195
Lincoln416462
Rhea415573
Cocke403996
Cheatham397944
Marshall392857
Campbell383459
Weakley379960
Giles375897
Henderson362574
Carroll349381
White339866
Hardeman339465
Macon337773
Hardin332063
Lauderdale310042
Henry301675
Marion295945
Wayne288830
Scott288644
Overton286558
Claiborne284769
McNairy268753
Hickman267941
DeKalb267251
Haywood265160
Smith257936
Grainger244846
Trousdale240022
Morgan231138
Fentress230044
Johnson217538
Chester202448
Bledsoe201310
Crockett197447
Unicoi182147
Polk179122
Cannon178630
Union174134
Grundy170230
Lake167926
Sequatchie157527
Humphreys155621
Decatur154237
Benton151339
Lewis147625
Meigs126823
Jackson125734
Stewart124425
Clay107131
Houston103832
Perry103528
Moore94716
Van Buren79720
Pickett74723
Hancock50012

Community Events