For many parolees, getting a job sits at the top of the “to-do” list. But employers may be skeptical of hiring someone with an extensive criminal background.
The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) now works with the Colorado Department of Corrections and the Center for Employment Opportunities to hire people with criminal records. These crews focus on cleaning up bridges around the Denver area.
Brad Coates works on one of those crews, removing graffiti and cutting out overgrown vegetation. He worried his record involving drugs and guns would keep him from finding work, but he now has proof that he can hold down a job.
“This program has really helped me as far as building a resume," Coates said. "Showing that I'm willing to work. Holding you accountable and making sure that you're ready to get out there and be in the world and be a contributor.”
These employees make minimum wage but the goal is for them to find a more permanent, full-time job.
The program, originally created by the Governor’s Office for Community Partnerships, is expected to be renewed in January.