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Suffolk hosts job event for ex-offenders

A re-entry job fair for ex-offenders drew around 250 attendees, with 10 to 15 percent of participants receiving job offers, said the Suffolk County Labor Department, which organized the event.

The event, which was held last week, featured not only companies looking to hire new employees but also nonprofit organizations that offered legal and career advice. Five former offenders also gave a seminar to share advice from their experiences in finding jobs after prison. About 14 employers from sectors including  retail, construction and landscaping were present.

The Suffolk labor department planned the event to combat recidivism. Ex-offenders are less likely to return to crime if they have a stable job, said Kirk Cronk, director of business services at the Suffolk labor department.

The aid offered by Suffolk County comes as New York State has also ramped up efforts to offer job training for former inmates through the Work for Success program, which was announced a year ago.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has noted that keeping individuals out of jail will save taxpayers more money. Last month, Cuomo offered a new incentive for businesses to get behind the effort: employers who hire ex-offenders are now eligible for up to $2,400 in state tax credits per worker.

Cronk said he thought the first event in Suffolk County was successful, and that he hopes for the ex-offender job fairs to occur on a more regular basis, with potentially another event in the fall.

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