BREAKING NEWS Austinville Elementary School going virtual on Monday following coronavirus case among office staff Full Story

Skilled to Work: Second Chance Job Fairs aim to connect underemployed and parolees to available jobs

Event organizers said the job fairs were inspired by one held in Birmingham last year.

Posted: Feb 7, 2019 12:44 PM
Updated: Feb 7, 2019 5:41 PM

Dozens of people shuffled from booth to booth Thursday morning in Decatur. The folks at Ingalls Harbor were eagerly looking at a wide array of job opportunities at the Second Chance Job Fair.

A number of those who passed through face a unique challenge when hunting for a job: they have a criminal record.

Dozens of employers were on hand at the Second Chance Job Fair in Decatur on Thursday. All of the booths present represented available jobs across the Tennessee Valley. Dozens of employers were on hand at the Second Chance Job Fair in Decatur on Thursday. All of the booths present represented available jobs across the Tennessee Valley.

“It was kind of like a shocker at first because I didn't really think that nothing like that existed,” said Chris Minor.

Minor is about a month into his parole. He said the Second Chance Job Fair gives him the chance to talk with employers who won’t automatically dismiss him for past offenses.

“Coming out of prison, I thought people really would give you a chance like they're giving us. So I think it's awesome,” said Minor.

Organizers told WAAY 31, this is the first Second Chance Job Fair being hosted in north Alabama. Penny Townson, the vice president of Morgan County Economic Development, said a similar fare in Birmingham inspired it.

She added that an unemployment level below three percent is forcing companies to find creative methods to fill the demand for workers.

“Our unemployment hasn’t been low enough that you’ve had to get more creative about where you find that work and we really do now,” said Townson.

The job fair is not only aimed at people who have criminal pasts, but also those who are underemployed.

“That’s about 10,000 in Morgan County. These are people who are working in jobs,but are capable of doing more and are consistently looking for more work. That's one group we want to make sure we’re hitting,” said Townson.

And Morgan County isn’t alone in this effort. On February 27, Madison County will host its own Second Chance Job Fair at the Jaycee Community Building on Airport Road.

Lydia Pennington, the industry relations director for the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce, said both counties were interested in the idea of such a job fair. They believe working together creates a greater impact.

“We both were interested in hosting this type of job fair and it gives a regional approach and also helps with our voice to reach a larger audience,” said Pennington.

On Thursday and Friday, there are also seminars hosted at Calhoun’s Adult Education center to teach skills like resume formatting and navigating an interview. Sessions are held twice a day: from 9 a.m. to noon and the other from 1 p.m. till 4 p.m.

“We have to give them tools that they can actually use and then allow them to use them and then we critique that so that they have something to go out and actually use,” said Brenda Bryson, an instructor at Alabama Ready to Work.

Meanwhile, Minor remarks that events like the pair of Second Chance Job Fairs are invaluable for someone like him, who’s just trying to make a positive impact on the community as part of the workforce.

“Probably becoming a truck driver. I already got my CDS and had my CDS for 20 plus years. So I'll probably get back in the trucking industry,” said Minor.

To register for the job fair in Huntsville, click here.

Huntsville
Overcast
67° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 67°
Florence
Clear
67° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 67°
Fayetteville
Scattered Clouds
66° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 66°
Decatur
Scattered Clouds
65° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 65°
Scottsboro
Overcast
66° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 66°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 134231

Reported Deaths: 2357
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson19676351
Mobile13373292
Montgomery8834184
Tuscaloosa8621118
Madison788178
Shelby597849
Lee589760
Baldwin547750
Marshall394343
Calhoun351544
Etowah349045
Morgan329228
Houston290321
Elmore266748
DeKalb241621
St. Clair232235
Walker231684
Talladega216629
Limestone210120
Cullman189920
Dallas179026
Franklin177129
Autauga176425
Russell17603
Lauderdale171333
Colbert164626
Blount161115
Escambia160824
Chilton158530
Jackson157511
Covington140127
Dale138644
Coffee13486
Pike119810
Chambers116442
Tallapoosa116085
Clarke109116
Marion96429
Butler91239
Barbour8827
Winston74412
Marengo72020
Pickens66214
Bibb65410
Lowndes65327
Randolph64713
Hale63528
Geneva6254
Lawrence62023
Cherokee60813
Bullock60414
Monroe5898
Clay5858
Washington55713
Perry5416
Crenshaw53732
Conecuh53511
Wilcox53111
Henry5055
Macon48018
Fayette4578
Sumter43819
Cleburne3805
Lamar3672
Choctaw34712
Greene30315
Coosa1713
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 190891

Reported Deaths: 2374
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby30755458
Davidson26474306
Hamilton944394
Knox937879
Rutherford929389
Williamson525236
Sumner481998
Wilson347645
Putnam331540
Montgomery307044
Unassigned29495
Bradley293417
Out of TN289627
Madison287764
Sevier262315
Blount251624
Maury236124
Washington229736
Robertson221035
Sullivan216433
Hamblen191426
Tipton181819
Gibson165823
Trousdale16577
Hardeman157026
Wayne14975
Dyer137014
Bedford134517
Dickson125715
Coffee123613
Cumberland120118
Weakley118919
Fayette118819
Henderson118124
Anderson117913
Loudon11726
Obion117110
Carter116828
Greene115644
Jefferson111914
McMinn111925
Warren10617
Macon105521
Lawrence104313
Monroe103618
Hardin103016
Lauderdale98316
Franklin9699
Haywood96921
Lake9192
Roane8954
Carroll88920
McNairy88318
Bledsoe8544
White8379
Rhea83412
Hawkins81218
Cheatham80710
Marshall7565
Cocke7469
Overton7456
Smith72311
Johnson7112
Chester63210
Henry6259
Lincoln6191
Giles60717
Hickman5858
DeKalb56614
Crockett53819
Marion5298
Decatur5207
Fentress5053
Campbell4464
Claiborne4425
Polk38810
Grainger3763
Union3591
Benton3369
Jackson3265
Morgan3173
Grundy2915
Cannon2860
Unicoi2861
Humphreys2513
Sequatchie2332
Clay2265
Meigs2263
Houston2203
Scott2142
Stewart2042
Lewis2011
Moore1751
Van Buren1660
Perry1500
Pickett1162
Hancock1063

Community Events