Local businesses offer job fair for former convicted criminals - Tucson News Now

Local businesses offer job fair for former convicted criminals

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By Craig Reck

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) – Community organizers in Tucson want employers to take a second look at hiring convicted felons and give them a second chance.

Second Chance Tucson hosted a number of businesses at Pima Community College West Campus Thursday. Inside the gymnasium, roughly 300 people with criminal records could connect with prospective employers.

Adrian Marrero, 23, said he's hoping someone can look past a mistake in his past in order for him to provide for his family.

"It's kind of hard for the mother of my child to support our daughter by herself," he said. "It takes two to run a household now, so it would be great to actually get a job and be beneficial to me and my family."

Organizers say a job not only benefits families like Marrero's, but the rest of the Tucson community.

Housing an inmate in Arizona costs about $30,000 annually, according to U.S. Magistrate Judge Charles Pyle.

He said he was pleased to look around the room and see people searching for a positive path to follow instead of standing in front of him in court. Pyle added that providing a job leads to a positive role in society which results in improved safety for all of us.

"I think the energy in this room is a testament to that," said Pyle. "I'm really pleased with how things are going today."

Second Chance Tucson is more than a job fair. Marcella Vasquez proudly carried around her Second Chance binder, which held her resume and letters of recommendation. The program guided her through the preparation process, even holding mock interviews.

Still on probation, Vasquez said she's confident in finding a job. After that, she plans to return to Second Chance Tucson as a volunteer.

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"I have a little time left and I know it's going to be a better future for me," she said.

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