Looking for work can be a nightmare.
Looking for work with a criminal record? Even worse.
There are a lot of employers who won’t even consider someone with a prior felony conviction. And in the United States, there are an estimated 12 million people with those.
12 million people. That’s so many. But for those who have done their time and wish to rebuild their lives, where the heck are they supposed to start?
There may be a job open in Lawrence, Kansas.
It’s at a place called Sun Cedar, and they will only hire you if you’re a reformed felon or a recovering addict or homeless. Essentially, if you’ve been deemed as “unemployable” in today’s workforce, you’re just who they are looking for.
It’s kind of genius.
Shine Adams is the brain behind it. After his friend was released from prison and wasn’t able to land a job, Adams came up with a solution.
It only involved three things:
- Cedar wood scraps
- A basement
- A friend seeking work
They started making little cedar trees out of the scraps, and people bought them. I mean who doesn’t love the smell of cedar? BAM! An inspiring small business idea was born.
Business is boomin’, but bigger would be better for everyone.
Sun Cedar has seen such success at providing meaningful employment to community members deemed “unemployable” so why not try to reach out to even more people?
By giving more people work experience and allowing them to build their resumes, these folks will eventually be able to move forward into other careers. Shine and his crew hope to expand Sun Cedar, finalize their nonprofit status, and keep making great products that people love. They’ve got some cool stuff going on.
Amy Solomon sums it up best. (She’s a senior adviser to the assistant attorney general in the Office of Justice Programs at the U.S. Department of Justice):
“It is critical that we, as a society, provide a path for individuals who have served their time and paid their debts to compete for legitimate work opportunities. It is, in fact, our only choice if we want people with past criminal involvement to be able to support themselves and their families, pay their taxes, and contribute to our communities.”
Sun Cedar is giving people a second chance and a reason to keep trying.
And bonus! they’re fighting the stigma of criminal records and homelessness at the same time.
Check out this feature on their company, and if you think it is making a difference in the lives of its employees and community, consider sharing this, checking out their website, or supporting their Kickstarter to keep them going!