Ex-Convicts in District Flock to Apply for Census Jobs
January 29, 2010
Will they even run background checks? No comment on this story, discuss amongst yourselves!
The word had spread, in churches and parole offices and halfway houses. The federal government is hiring for the 2010 Census, and tests for applicants were being given in a District neighborhood where unemployment is rampant.
Hundreds of men and women began lining up on the sidewalks outside Allen Chapel AME Church in Southeast Washington two hours before the doors opened one day last week. Most have criminal records involving drugs, stolen cars, burglary and the like. But they’d been told that the census would consider hiring them anyway, if not as census takers then as clerks.
Most of those bundled against the chill of a January morning were in their 40s and 50s. They said they just want to find work and get on with their lives. Some have been out of prison and job-hunting for years, some for months. All are familiar with the change in an interviewer’s eyes when they acknowledge that they have a record, and they leave knowing a follow-up call will never come.
“Imagine being 51 years old, with no marketable skills, an ex-felon and you’re black, and trying to get a job,” John Murphy said as he waited to take a census test. A barber before his 1999 burglary conviction, Murphy has secured only menial jobs since getting out of prison in 2006.
Latest posts by Jason Morris (see all)
- Flaw in Employment Background Check Law is Hurting Candidates - August 28, 2014
- NAPBS Conference Focuses on Criminal Background Checks - April 15, 2014
- WSJ op-ed Writer on Syria Fired For Lying on Her Resume - September 11, 2013