In this tough economy, it is difficult for anyone to get a job. Unfortunately, those attempting to steer their lives back on track after a criminal conviction find the job market a particularly harsh place.
Not only can some employers stigmatize a prior criminalconviction, but many former offenders are unsure of the best way to discuss their history. Fortunately, a program in Utah is successfully helping individuals with prior convictions both interview for jobs and ultimately receive job offers.
Background of UDOWD Task Force
The Utah Defendant/Offender Workforce Development (UDOWD) is a program that helps past offenders assess various career choices that may be a good fit for them while in jail and upon release. Additionally, offenders attend classes which focus on development of social skills that can aid with transitioning back into society.
Utah’s program is part of a nationwide effort to provide past offenders with the tools required to successfully integrate into society and reduce the rate of recidivism. The program is a combination of Utah’s County Sherriff’s Office, Workforce Services, Vocational Rehabilitation as well as religious and business interests.
How the Program Helps Past Offenders Find Work
The program provides tips on how to best fill out an application honestly. For example, instead of attempting to hide probation, past offenders may use the probation officer as a reference. These tactics have proven successful as the program has seen almost 700 prior offenders receive employment since 2009.
The program also offers incentives to help employers feel more comfortable hiring program participants. Employers can receive free bonds or insurance to protect their businesses during an offender’s first six months of employment. A $2,400 tax credit is also available.
Although programs are available to aid those with prior convictions, it remains important to take any allegations of criminal charges seriously. Criminal charges can negatively impact attempts to find both housing and employment. If you are fighting a criminal charge, it is wise to seek the counsel of an experienced criminal defense lawyer to ensure all your legal rights are protected.