North Texans with criminal histories get a second chance amid staffing shortages

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM)  Hundreds of people who might think they would be the last on the list for a job found there are dozens of companies in Tarrant County eager to put them to work.

People lined up around the building at the county Resource Connection Center in south Fort Worth Wednesday for more than 800 available jobs, knowing there were businesses well aware of the criminal histories of applicants, as they continue to struggle to fill open positions.

Organizers even expanded the Continuing the Climb job and resource fair, adding resources for education, housing and food, seeing an opportunity to fill the needs of businesses and people at the same time.

“Folks don’t necessarily know how to connect,” said Suzanne Richards, with the Fort Worth EnVision Center. “So we help bring them together so it’s easy. We remove the barriers.”

It was perfect for Darrious Tippens, who was released from prison this month after four years after a robbery conviction. He was looking for help setting up an email address, a career rather than a job, and support to keep him on the right path.

“I’m looking for someone if I find myself under pressure and I need someone to talk to, that they’re not going to judge me,” he said.

June Richardson with Beezz Construction Cleaning said she was there ready to put the right person to work the next day if she could find them.

“There are so many worthy people out here and we want to talk to them,” she said, explaining the changing economy had made it hard to even get potential workers in the door.

Large employers like Six Flags, In-N-Out, Wayfare and Arlington ISD were among the companies interested in talking to applicants.

The Cornerstone Assistance Network of Tarrant County put together a similar event four years ago but this was it’s first one since the pandemic, and much larger than what they did in 2018.

“Tt’s just a lack of exposure,” said Andre Johnson with Cornerstone. “That’s why we’re doing as much as we can now to expose the community we serve to all the different resources that’s here and that’s available.”

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