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Felons Wanted: Ex-Offender Helps Careers

Posted By: Jeffrey T. McCormack In: Construction & Extraction

A recent report on the site StateImpact, tells of an ex-convict, Lonnie Hunt, who is helping other former felons get back on their feet by hiring them to work for his construction company, Guaranteed Construction. While serving his time in prison he received training in construction, and is now using that training with his Construction Company and former felons, to help continue the rebuild of damage from last year’s hailstorms in Oklahoma City.


Hunt believes that ex-felons tend to be better workers than those who have never been behind bars. Plus, felons have a harder time finding employment once they get out, and the amount of unemployed felons makes up close to a full percentage point of the male unemployment rate in the country.


Reports show that when felons find a good steady job after release, their chances of returning to jail is greatly reduced. For every one felon who stays out of jail, it saves Oklahoma about $20,000 per year, which of course has an impact on businesses and unemployment in the state as a whole, so it works out for everyone.


Hunt and his current staff of over twelve employees report that business is good as they work to repair the many homes damaged in the storm. After Hunt was incarcerated for four years, he was given a job by a local plumbing company. After a while, he started his own business and wishes to continue to pass on the blessing he had to other felons who need a job.


“When they get out, they have a problem finding jobs because of them being ex-offenders. So, we’re just, you know, passing it on” Hunt says. As long as they are hard workers, he says, they are welcome. “They know that, for one, they have all of these strikes against them when they get out, so when they finally get a job, they certainly want to hold on to it. Because they know it’s so hard to get in the first place.”


Interestingly, even one of the commenters on the article had good things to say about companies like Hunt’s. She said “I hired a company like this for a home service when I was living in California. Of the seven or so companies I've tried, they did the best job.”


So while some companies may steer clear of ex-felons, there are many that jump at giving them the chance, and the outcome seems to be positive in most cases.

What do you think?
Please complete the form below to submit a comment on this article. A valid email address is required to submit a comment though it will not be displayed on the site.

Posted by: Jeffrey McCormack
Stories like this about Lonnie Hunt are great - if only more people would do the same as he is doing. Thanks for reading everyone.
Posted by: Chris K
I am also in that same position and it is hard to find a job. I currently have 3 daughters and it is really hard to take care of them and do everything with just my wifes income at this time. i just need some help and figure out what i can do and the best way to do it!!!!!!!
Posted by: William M
I think thats super! I myself am a felon and I'm having a major problem finding employment. It is very disappointing to me, because before my felonies, I was able to get "any" job i applied for due to my vast experience in the Production/Manufacturing Industry. Now, I can't find anyone who will hire me. I am going back to school to further my education and hopefully the school will be able to help me with finding a part-time job since i am going to be attending full-time. I might as well do it! I cant seem to do anything else with my life. It's very very depressing to me! To find employment again would definitely regain my manhood, because now I don't feel much like one.
Posted by: Bobbie D
it,s a wonderful thing your doing.
Posted by: Charles B
What ever happened to "Paying your debt to society"? I am a highly skilled welder/fabricator with over 20 yrs experience and with products that I personally built doing their jobs all over the world. I have been laid off for a year now and can't find work anywhere despite having applied and being told that I was the ONLY one that passed all the tests and my work is perfect!! I am constantly denied work because of a 2001 felony DUI in the state of Florida. It is a witch-hunt AND it is DISCRIMINATION. I have 3 weeks left on my unemployment. I rent my home and am facing eviction. My wife and I have no where to go. And winter in northeast Ohio is upon us.
Posted by: Jason H
I am in the category of ex- offender. I got into the electrical business. My employer ran out of work and know nobody wants to hire an educated ex-con. With such high umemployment they can pick and choose. The sad part is that it is not my abilities that get my resume thrown away. It is my past. My former employer was like me with a record. So, i know and believe in what you are doing.
Posted by: Gary Pullins
im a felon now and im having a hard time finding employment over a stupid charge ( illigally hauling tires ) and now ive got a felony 4 on my record
Posted by: Jeanne Elledge
I think what you are doing is wonderful. Like you said steer clear of felons because of their history. My boyfriend is a convicted felon , will be looking for employment in the near future . I will definitely tell him about your company . There should be more employers like you . Thank you
Posted by: Bryan K
I live in WI. I really wish this construction company was here! Although I haven't been in prison, I do have felony charges and have been seriously looking for work for about 4 years with no luck at all! I really do want to work, a lot! I always was and still am a hard worker, and although I don't have much experience in construction, I would really love to get a job in that field or even more so in the Interior Demolition field. I have felt incredibly discriminated because of my record, and really wish someone would give me the chance to work and show what an asset I would be to their company, like this man is doing. It would be a really great thing if there were more companies like his!
Posted by: Mario l
God bless u bro. give and it shall be given back to u ....i am a gulf war veteran ,but just paroled from a california stae prison...getting back to work is a big factor that determines our success or failor of parole...many good men\women have to settle for less because of employers not giving parolees an apportunity to use there field of work again...there are soo many experienced and educated parolees...the one thing we are is grateful for those jobs others look to as a burden...shame on them..thank u bro. for those u hire...mario l
Posted by: John B
I'm an exfelon and can't seem to get a job anywhere and I have 17 years in roofing.. Someone help please
Posted by: kenneth e
''Good person '' Keep up the good work we need more people like Mr. Hunt I'm an excon and could use a job.
Posted by: Steve v
Way to go Hunt!  If more people out here would give us a chance they would see that there is a untapped resource of hard worker with talents others do not possess!  We are just looking for a good paying stable job to take care of family and get back on our feet. Yes there are some will fail but Therese's even more who would work there fingers to the bone for a chance! Best wishes to Hunt and his crew! You guys are setting a example for society!
Posted by: Joseph P
I am an ex-offender and I have been out of work for more than a year now. I have a family to support and my wife is on benefits due to a mental illness. I have resorted to seeking aid from my inlaws and on top of that in this state the unemployment is supposedly improved to the extent where Texas doesn't think we need the longer extension of emergency unemployment benefits and I am officially out of funds. Can you feel the "LOVE" for Gov. Perry right now? Anyway, I could sure use a chance to get back to work.
Posted by: travis s
I am an exconvict and could use a job its nice to hear someone out how is not bias
Posted by: Dennis E
been out for going on five months now, still looking. Been in construction trads for over 20+, not able to fine any at this time. Started school this week 09/10/2012 for bachelor's degree.
Posted by: Kevin d
I have been out a year and a half i found work however i can barely support my needs. I went to trucking school ive got a class A CDL with a clean driving record yet no one will hire me the excuses are either i don't have enough experience or no work history, how can i get experience or work history if no one will hire me? my felony doesn't involve theft nor were there any victims in my offense.
Posted by: joshua n
at least somebody is giving us a chance
Posted by: Randy J
I totally agree I just got done doing two in fed prison I've been out for about a yr an haven't been able to find anything  and have 15yrs exp in drywall.
Posted by: matthew m
I think its good to give people such as myself another chance i have been out of prison for a lil over 2 years now and havent been able to find a job anywhere and im a hard worker and very dependable i wish someone would give me a second chance i mean i have a lil girl that sometimes i dont if i can put food in her stomach and i just want to have a good job
Posted by: Samuel P
Admirable example, Mr. Hunt. There's no logical reason an ex-felon should not be considered for employment, considering both that the convict has paid debt to society, and if specific offense behavior behind conviction does not negatively impact requisite job duties and performance, the mere stigma of sustaining a conviction should not automatically disqualify convict candidate.
Posted by: Keith E
That is great we need more people like him willing to help because everybody deserves a second chance...  god bless u
Posted by: ALONZO S
i think thats good is willing to give individuals a second chance to resurrect their lives, and not allow the label to slow them down!!!!
Posted by: Billy H
you know people complain about how much it cost them in there state to send a person to prison, but they really must not care what they have to pay to send an ex-con back. It would save a whole lot of money to just help them get a job and stay out prison. I have three personal felony and I look for a job for two and Half years for a job. Keeping the job is one thing, but someone giving you a chance to prove yourself is another. Ex-cons has family and has to prove for them just like anyone else does. I read more and more about the right to work act. Than why doesn't the Ex-con have a right to work. They done there time and paid the price of there crime. I guess doing time means the rest of your life to most people!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Posted by: Timothy M
This is great for people like myself just getting out of prison
Posted by: damien d
Good work, we can use the help!
Posted by: larry p
Iwas incarcerated for 30yrs.and have been free now for 3yrs...Still no one will hire me...I dont know what to do...I wish someone in kentucky would give me just one chance!!!
Posted by: peter m
true story,i have been free 12 years andno one will give me any consideration for hiring once they goggle me and see my past history,its trash to them ,appling for certificate of good conduct ,would like to find a mr hunt type company in syracuse or create one.i really am a good worker.
Posted by: Herschell S
I am all for the idea of ex-felons helping other ex-felons. It is so hard to obtain a decent paying job with a felony record, even if you are blessed to obtain a job after the company receives their tax break for hiring the minority (ex-felon) the company lets them go. This happened to me and now I'm in search of employment.
Posted by: william s
I liked your article I myself am an ex felon and it is so hard to find work once someone finds out that you had made a mistake in life and not willing to give you another chance in life
Posted by: Jeffrey McCormack
Thank you all for the great comments. I too received inspiration from this story, and hope that others around the country would do the same for former felons.
Posted by: terrance w
I would like the opportunity to try my hand at this job because I am a convicted felon and it is hard for me to find work.
Posted by: Tyrone M
I love the Ideal of some one helping convicts like me at another chance at life.
Posted by: quadarrius p
I think this is great but is there a program for women. My mom have been struggling to find a decent job?
Posted by: Cornell B
Thank You for helping people like myself even though I've  been out for the past seven years it is still hard for me to get a job. Having the skills to do the job or willing to learn the skills to do the job. All we ask that people give us a chance. Thank You once again. Also wish me luck moving to Texas and have to try again.
Posted by: teresa b
It's abou.t time to give the reformed ex-offenders a break.Thank GOD for that
Posted by: james l
i am interested in getting a job and i am also a convicted felon ex con not currently on parole . i am struggling to find work. i have done some construction and roofing i am a hard worker and a good worker and a fast learner .  
Posted by: Rajee R
This article was very inspirational. I am an ex-felon and have been unemployed for the past two years and things are not looking up for me. I commend Mr Hunt for his accomplishments and I love the fact that he wants to give back to others. Would you have any information for me about this being done in NJ?  Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.
Posted by: kevin j
im ready to work
Posted by: Hilda S
Iam not a Felon but do know it is really difficult for my ex-boyfriend's son to find a job and he is only 24 yrs old...I will tell him about this info. Thanks for the help.
Posted by: Jason P
I'm not a felon but I have a brother who is, and I'm trying too find me a job, as well as helping my little brother to get a job too. This is something I always wanted too do. My father use too do construction. He did underground construction. One of my other little brothers  do the same type of work. I will really like to have the opportunity to do the same type of work. Thanks for time.
Posted by: Eddie C
Posted by: william k
I not only like what Mr hunt is doing, I would like a job working for him as I to am a felon and having a rough time getting back to work. I could use some help for sure.
Posted by: alejandro g
Well it is very true some felons really have a hard time staying out and on thier feet
Posted by: Cory G
I do not have a criminal history
Posted by: Justin H
This is the truth some Ex-con who are actually putting there life back together will work harder and better than ones who have never been to the bottom.
Posted by: Roosevert P
Very good article Please Send me more Info.
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