South Patrol Holds Job Fair for Ex-Offenders
By Kathy Feist
Over 20 vendors took part in the first South Patrol Second Chance Job Fair for ex-offenders today. And they were not disappointed.
“I’ve already hired two employees,” said Phil Giordano of Grade A Tree Care in Martin City. It was only an hour into the job fair. Giordano said he chose to participate in the fair simply because he needed help. “The industry trade is struggling to find help right now. It’s really, really low.”
“We need to get parents to kick their kids out of the basement!” he jokes.
One young ex-offender was wasting no time finding a job. Released from prison only a week and a half ago, the 28-year-old, who wished to remain anonymous, had served six years for committing armed bank robbery. “I’m seeking employment because I’m ready to leave criminal activity behind,” he said. He hopes to find a job in warehousing.
Another older ex-offender, who made the walk along Bannister Rd. dressed in a suit, left with two jobs.
Some of the vendors there included Fedex, UPS, Goodwill, the City of Kansas City, and various job centers and employment staffing agencies.
The job fair was originally planned to take place in the South Patrol’s community room but was moved to the gym due to the level of response from vendors, according to State Rep. Richard Brown. Brown, along with State Rep. DaRon McGee and 5th and 6th District City Council members Lee Barnes, Jr., Alissia Canady, Kevin McManus and Scott Taylor sponsored the job fair.
“A lot of people aren’t given an opportunity,” said Brown. “They made a mistake when they were younger. They did their time. They paid their debt to society.”
“Everyone feels good when they can provide for their family,” he continues. “Everyone wants good self-esteem.”
In addition to job availability, the fair also had 25 bicycles donated by WalMart that were being given away in a drawing through the day. The bicycles would help provide transportation for many ex-offenders, said Brown.
The job fair continues to 3 p.m. Wednesday at South Patrol, 9701 Marion Park Dr. “We definitely want to do this again next year,” remarked Brown.