Looking for a second chance: Programs help former offenders land jobs

SALISBURY — When a former offender comes home from prison, finding a job can be a challenge. Yet data shows that people are three times less likely to return to prison if they have full-time work.

Salisbury has a number of resources that have successfully helped people re-integrate into the community, find and keep work. In fact, Rowan County is first in the state in finding jobs for former offenders.

Rod Kerr is the director of Jobs for Life at First Baptist Church. He describes his program as a “next-step, second-chance ministry.” While it is faith-based, one doesn’t have to be a member of any faith or church to participate. It’s offered to anyone who comes in.

“I guess a quarter to a third of our students have had some legal difficulties,” says Kerr. “Many of them have been our most teachable people. They are highly motivated, want to work and get back to life.”

Jobs for Life has been in operation for three years at First Baptist Church in Salisbury. In that short time, about 90 people have graduated from the program, and about 80 of them have gainful employment. For more info on Jobs for Life, call 704.633.0431, extension 105 to talk to Rod.

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