Hiring second-chance workers the solution to fill job need for some employers

Local News
Rev Steve Heather KOLR

SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– Some employers around the Ozarks need more workers, and two groups say hiring “second-chance” workers could be the solution.

A second-chance worker is someone with a criminal history who wants a job.

Prestressed Casting Company has been hiring past offenders for more than 10 years.

“The general manager, he never frowned on it or nothing. He just said everybody deserves a second chance,” HR Safety Director Herman Burkett Jr. said. “That everybody here, we are all kind of like a step-family. He said don’t worry about the past, we’re worrying about the future. So your past doesn’t bother us, if it doesn’t bother them.”

Burkett Jr.’s company currently has 15 past offenders working, but normally it has around 60.

Early on, he says it was a challenge because people would have to leave work to go see their probation officer. Eventually, Burkett Jr. worked with Missouri’s Probation and Parole Office and the Job Center, and now PO’s make visits at his job in a private office.

He says this made the entire situation easier.

Katherine Trombetta with the Job Center says there’s a stigma when it comes to hiring someone with past legal issues – but benefits can come from doing so.

“Those who are coming out of prison, they have skills that they have acquired before they came in,” Trombetta said. “We really try and talk to employers about the skills that they have and how they can help their company.”

The center will host a free, virtual information session for employers tomorrow morning about hiring second-chance workers.

Burkett Junior says Prestressed Casting Company will be hiring soon and it is accepting applications at this time.

To apply to Prestressed Casting Company: Phone: 417-869-7350, Fax: 417-869-3947, Email: Dave@PrestressedCasting.com

If you’re an employer and want to participate in the Missouri Job Center’s virtual information session, email Jennifer Biri at jbiri@springfieldmo.gov for a Zoom link.

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