'Ban the Box' helps former incarcerated veterans get job interviews

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Thousands of veterans now have one less hurdle to cross when applying for a job this year. Kansas City, Mo., banned employers from asking about a person's criminal history on job applications.

Kansas City removed the box earlier this year; Target just recently did the same.

Herbert Green served four years in the army and a few years later, he served five years in prison.

"Most people don't want to give felons a second chance," he said.

Eileen Bobowski with Catholic Charities of Kansas City - St. Joseph's Turnaround Program knows it happens all the time.

"In order to be reacclimated to the community, it's very important for them to find work. That's our number one goal," Bobowski said.

Within 24 hours of getting out of jail felons arrive at the Turnaround Program. The program provides clothes, access to a food pantry and even personal hygiene items. But it doesn't stop there; landing a job for the offender is goal one with job training.

"Through their program, they gave me an opportunity to get some extensive job training," Green said. "We all make mistakes in life and everyone deserves a second chance to start over."

The U.S. Department of Justice reports in 2004, 10 percent of inmates reported serving time in the military. That number might sound like a lot, but the report also says 10 percent is actually down from 12 percent in 1997.

Kansas City is just one of dozens of other cities across the country that has passed similar legislation. For a complete map, visit http://tinyurl.com/cruhyc4.

For those wanting to learn more about the TurnAround program, visit the Catholic Charities of Kansas City website here: http://bit.ly/180E8d2

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