Anyone with a criminal record, whether incarcerated or not, is called an ex-offender. Every year, approximately 600,000 people are being released from prisons (Placeholder1). These people will experience serious challenges as they plan to reenter the workforce. In an excellent article on this topic (Holzer, Steven and Stoll n.d.), the authors outline the most common challenges facing ex-offenders.
- Limited education and cognitive skills
- Limited work experience
- Substance abuse and other physical/mental health problems
- Minority status of most ex-offenders
- Residence in low-income and minority communities where employment is limited to unskilled jobs
These issues, combined with employer perceptions of ex-offenders, make it nearly impossible for this group to start over. Career coaches can best serve this group by understanding the difficult challenges they will face, and involving themselves in government and local policy issues that can help make it easier for ex-offenders to become gainfully employed in the workforce.