Seeking a job or career in a field where you already have experience or training can be a big enough challenge as an ex-offender. However, when circumstances require you to seek a new job direction, it can be overwhelming to find employment in a field where there is a demand, and also a match to your interests, skills, aptitude, and/or criminal record.
Some of the things to consider include:
- what am I good at?
- what do I like to do?
- what will my criminal background allow me to do?
- what jobs pay well enough to cover my financial needs
- what jobs are in demand?
- How do I get access the education, training or credentials I need to get there?
Please reference the information and links below for ideas and resources on these subjects.
WHAT ARE MY INTERESTS, APTITUDE, AND ABILITIES?
Assessing yourself is the first step of the career exploration process. To find a career that's right for you, it's important to know a lot about yourself. Know everything about yourself already? It can be surprising to discover what you may have overlooked or taken for granted. Assessing your past and present will help you make the right decisions about your future. Formal assessments are tools to help you explore yourself. They can be based on your skills, interests, values, or other traits. These traits are then matched to a broad list of careers.
The National Career OneStop site provides the following career assessment and planning steps: identify accomplishments, complete an assessment, research and profile interesting careers and occupations, and then plan and execute your career goals.
Some other great national sites for career exploration and planning is at the Careerinfonet.org Career Exploration Portal and Occupation Profile Search Menu, as well as the Dept. of Labor's O'Net Online Career Profiler .
WHAT JOB LIMITS MIGHT I HAVE BASED ON MY BACKGROUND?
Texas Dept. of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) for Occupational Restrictions of those with Criminal Records
Here's some brand new guidance from the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition on implementing the new Texas State House Bill 1188 (83rd Legislature) that eliminates most legal liability for employers simply because they hired someone with a criminal record. Exceptions apply to sexual offenses and certain aggravated offenses.
Here's the new EEOC Guidance No. 915.002 (April 2012) outlining restrictions and enforcement of disparate discrimination from employment access for individuals with a criminal record.
WHAT JOBS ARE AVAILABLE, OR IN GROWING DEMAND IN MY AREA IN THE NEAR/LONG TERM?
Texas: Look where the job needs and demands are by using the TWC Texas Industry Profiles and the TWC Labor Market and Career Information (LMCI) resource portal of weblinks (current economic trends, indices and indicators, industrial information, and job/career information)
National: Search through the national list of thousands of occupations by career cluster, growing demand, industry, job family, key-word, or O*Net code at the U.S. Department of Labor's O*Net OnLine, and through the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics by Occupations (multiple links to data and sources that classify occupations by work performed, skills, education, training, demand, and credentials required).
OTHER GOOD SOURCES OF INFORMATION ON THE TOPIC:
TWC Salary Statistics and Openings (Searchable by Job and Region)
TWC Texascaresonline.com (self assessment, skills transferability, exploring work, career clusters, and occupational information)
WHAT EDUCATION OR TRAINING WILL I NEED?
After you assess yourself and explore career options, you should have a better understanding of the careers you would like to pursue. But how do you prepare for them? Do you have the necessary skills and training? Many different education and training options exist to help you gain or update the skills you need, and can be further researched on CareerInfoNet.org.