By Community Affairs reporter Cherri Gregg
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – City officials are making final preparations to re-do its job fair for Philadelphia ex-offenders, less than two weeks after a similar event was shut down because of the huge turnout (see related story).
The Mayor’s Office for Reintegration Services for Ex-Offenders received 3,900 resumes at its May 17th job fair, plus 200 additional inquiries.
RISE executive director Bill Hart says it’s clear that many Philadelphians need work, so his office is planning a bigger and better do-over at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in late July.
“It’s going to be an employer informational, resource and expungement clinic,” says Hart. “We’re going to also have the Mayor’s Commission on Literacy, we’re going to have probation and parole, [and] we’re going to have Community Legal Services” says Hart.
He says volunteer lawyers will provide free expungement services for about 500 people and the day will also include a program where ex-offenders who have reintegrated into the workforce tell their story of success.
“It’s clear that there are a lot of Philadelphians who need to work, who want to work regardless of background,” says Hart. “We want to provide an opportunity for ex-o’s to get the resources they need so that they can be competitive.”
The line of would-be applicants was six people wide and wrapped around the Municipal Services Building at the job fair in May.
Many people were frustrated when the city shut the event down because of the unexpected crowd.
Hart says the 4,200 people who showed up that day are only a fraction of the ex-offender population in Philadelphia.
“Philadelphia has anywhere from 200,000 to 300,000 ex-offenders,” he says.
Hart expects a large turnout to the upcoming job fair, but this time, they will require advance registration.
Stay tuned for final details on date and time at rise.phila.gov.