Ex-Convicts in District Flock to Apply for Census Jobs

Jason Morris

Will they even run background checks? No comment on this story, discuss amongst yourselves!

PH2010012804126Ex-Convicts in District Flock to Apply for Census Jobs

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.

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Jason Morris

President & Chief Operating Officer at EmployeeScreenIQ
A veteran screening and risk management professional, Jason Morris founded EmployeeScreenIQ in 1999 and acts as the company’s chief operating officer and president. Morris is a frequent speaker delivering captivating, interactive discussions on background checks, global screening, recruitment and staffing. He educates audiences in best practice initiatives as they relate to organizational employment screening programs. Morris has been quoted in numerous business and industry publications including The Wall Street Journal, MSNBC.com, USA Today, New York Times, among others. He is also a licensed private investigator in the states of Ohio, Illinois, New Jersey, Texas, Arizona and Nevada.
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