Many companies aren’t eager to hire someone who’s been imprisoned. According to a 2007 Georgetown University study, 80 to 90 percent of employers would “definitely” or “probably” hire someone with little work experience, but just 40 percent would “definitely” or “probably” hire an ex-convict, even one with the required work experience. Fathers Count, a program of Family Services of Westchester, is trying to change this. Through counseling, workshops, and job-placement assistance, Fathers Count is helping fathers who were incarcerated improve their chances of employment—and, consequently, their ability to support their children.
One of those men is James McCary, a Yonkers father of three who was jailed for a non-violent, non-theft-related crime. After hearing about the program, McCary decided to try it out. “At first I was kind of skeptical, but a closed mouth doesn’t get fed,” McCary says. So he enrolled in the program and took classes to improve his computer skills and manage his finances. He also joined a job-search group, which helps members write résumés and even dress for their interviews; the program has a closet of donated clothes, mostly from News 12, for the men to wear. “I got a shirt and blazer,” McCary says. McCary recently got hired in Ridge Hill in Yonkers.
Businesses interested in participating can contact Family Services at (914) 937-2320.