NPR

Former Inmates Are Getting Jobs As Employers Ignore Stigma In Bright Economy

People convicted of felonies often have difficulties getting hired. But many employers say they're suffering a labor shortage, and attitudes toward hiring people with criminal records are changing.
Michigan Department of Corrections Director Heidi Washington says "about 95% of everybody who left Vocational Village had a job before they left." Source: Elaine Cromie for NPR

In 1998, Ichard Oden committed a crime that got him sent away for two decades. He was 19.

He got out of prison in February. Today, he's a 40-year-old man with very little job experience.

As it turns out, Oden is coming back into society at a time when the economy is booming and attitudes toward people with criminal records are changing.

Unemployment in the Detroit metro area has fallen dramatically, to from more than 17% just 10 years ago.Nationwide, it's dropped to a 50-year low of . Many employers say they can't find enough workers. And for Oden and Americans with a felony record, that might mean a much better shot at getting a job and reintegrating into

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