Government Programs That Help Felons Get Jobs

Looking for government programs that help felons get jobs? You’ve come to the right place. We’ve prepared some information on this matter, which hopefully can help any of the convicted felons out there who are trying to make a new start in their life.

These days, landing a job is getting more and more difficult. Ex-felons have it even harder than regular people because there’s always the negative stigma in our society, assuming that every ex-felons will not change their habits and view of life, making these ex-felons as a potential threat in the future. Therefore, most people want to have nothing to do with people who are convicted felons.

Fortunately, there are several assistance programs from the United States government that may be able to help convicted felons to get jobs, including:

Government Programs That Help Felons Get Jobs

List of Government Programs That Help Felons Get Jobs

Here are the available list of government programs to help felons get jobs:

The Prison Entrepreneurship Program

Some states offer Prison Entrepreneurship Program (or something similar but with different name). The goal is to provide information about people, organizations, companies or businesses that are willing to help convicted felons to start their own business. The assistance programs may come in various forms depending on the available help. But commonly they may offer technical assistance, job hunting assistance, and in some cases, financial assistance. You can visit the Prison Entrepreneurship Program’s website available in our reference section.

The Second Chance Act’s Program

If you’re still unsure where to go for help from the government, you may want to contact your State’s Bureau of Justice Assistance office and ask about the Second Chance Act. This program offers various assistance. This can help you land the job you need, including job advice, mentoring and other technical assistance. The eligibility and requirements are depending on the state you’re currently living in, so we recommend you contact the office in person.

Workforce Investment Act’s Program

Although the Workforce Investment Act program is not solely aimed towards convicted felons to get jobs, but ex felons are considered as one of their top priorities. This program offers grant money available for various job trainings, including mentoring and basic skills training. To be eligible for this assistance, the felons should be at least 18 years old of age and was sentenced as an adult. However, people who were sentenced because of sex crime will not be able to enjoy this benefit. It’s a great way to increase your value. The program is usually available from your state’s government office. Contact them for more information about this opportunity.

Small Business Administration’s Program

Small Business Administration is a special office that promotes small business development. Also, this program encourages the growth of new entrepreneurs from various communities, especially from at-risk population like convicted felons. Usually eligible people will be able to get some sort of financial assistance, mostly comes in the form of low-interest rate loan so that the people can either start a small business or develop their current small business.

In addition to the programs we mentioned above, you can also ask for information about similar government programs for job assistance for felons from the state’s Department of Social Services.

The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC)

The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) is a government program to help people who face challenges finding a job. Employers get a tax credit, which is like getting money back from the government, when they hire people who meet certain criteria. This credit can be as much as $9,600 per employee.

The program targets specific groups like ex-convicts, veterans, and folks who get government help because they often have a hard time finding work.

To qualify for the tax credit, the person hired as an ex-convict needs to become an employee either during their probation or parole period or within a year of being released from jail.

The Federal Bonding Program

The Federal Bonding Program is another government aid program. It helps people with past troubles find jobs by lessening the risk for employers who hire them. This program offers employers an insurance policy. The goal is to protect them in case of theft, forgery, or other intentional losses caused by employees who might be considered risky to hire.

These at-risk individuals can include those with a history of crime, people undergoing addiction treatment, and those with limited work experience. The bond typically covers up to $5,000 of damage for six months. But some businesses can request coverage up to $25,000. The Department of Labor issues this coverage, starting from the first day of employment. If needed, employers can pay for more coverage after the initial six months.

Other Non-Government Sources

If you cannot find any available government programs that help felons get jobs, here are some alternatives to check:

Felony Record Hub

Felony Record Hub is a helpful website, usually for felons. It offers more than just job listings; it provides support on housing, legal rights, aid programs, and community connections. The goal of Felony Record Hub is to help ex-offenders reintegrate into society smoothly.

Additionally, the website features a blog with valuable resources for ex-convicts seeking employment. It covers various topics. For example, employer policies on hiring people with criminal records, background checks, book reviews, tips on finding and applying for grants, and more.

Ban the Box

Ban the Box is a movement led by advocates for ex-offenders. It urges employers to remove questions about criminal records from job applications. By getting rid of the checkbox that asks if applicants have a criminal record, people with past convictions get a fair chance. So, they can showcase their skills and experience without being immediately disqualified.

This campaign also pushes for limitations on when employers can access criminal records during the hiring process. The goal is to reduce discrimination in job applications. Ban the Box suggests rules on the types of questions employers can ask about criminal history, how far back they can inquire, and when in the hiring process they can discuss these records. According to the National Employment Law Project, 37 states, Washington D.C., and over 150 cities and counties have already adopted this policy.


In America, about 24 million people are felons for a serious crime. It is tough to find a job after being in jail, but it’s doable. Getting back to work can set you up for a good career. It lasts a long time and makes you feel satisfied.

The government has programs like the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) and federal bonding. These programs encourage employers to hire people who have been in jail. There are groups like Help for Felons, Jobs for Felons Hub, and that help felons to find jobs. Initiatives like the Fair Chance Business Pledge and Ban the Box make it simpler for ex-convicts to get jobs based on their skills and qualifications.


  • Prison Entrepreneurship Program –
  • National Reentry Resource Center –
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