Do you have a felony on your record? You’re not alone. Estimates of U.S. residents with felony records range from 5 to 30% of voting-age Americans. The Wall Street Journal delves into these rates by type of crime. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, it is difficult to pinpoint the exact number of felons in the U.S. Regardless of the specific numbers, many people around the country are dealing with how to address a felony record while applying for jobs. The good news? Jobs for felons do exist. In fact, there are many companies that hire felons. There are even programs for felons to get jobs.
Instead of getting frustrated and applying at companies that will never hire a felon, use this article to help guide the process. This article lists companies that have been known to hire felons, and also provides other helpful information for people searching for places that hire felons.
Included in This Article:
Friendly states for felons listed
Programs available to help felons get jobs
List of companies that hire felons
Information about finding local/regional jobs that hire felons
Felon Friendly States
Since many felonies are handled at the local and state levels, it is a common assumption that some states must be more friendly to felons than others. There isn’t a magical list of “friendly states” for felons out there. Some states have very strict policies about multiple felonies, such as California’s “three strikes sentencing law,” where people with felonies can face more severe sentencing than first-time offenders. On the other hand, many states have pledged to “ban the box” and offer fair hiring practices for people with criminal records. Check the list to see if your state and/or locality has taken on this initiative.
Rather than focusing on the states that are the most “felon friendly,” it may be better to focus on the availability of job opportunities and cost of living in each state. For example, Missouri has an excellent cost of living rate and there are strong job prospects, particularly near the large cities. Generally, the Midwestern states will have a similar balance of high job opportunities with low cost of living. New York, on the other hand, is a state that has both a high cost of living and a large quantity of people with felony records trying to find jobs, causing high competition and low job opportunity. Many southern states have low job opportunities right now, but they also offer a low cost of living. People with felonies should also consider where their social support lives. A high cost of living may be outweighed if you live near family members who can help you out during times of need.
Programs for Reentry After a Felony Conviction
Instead of striking out on your own, sometimes it easier to work directly with a program that knows how to best help felons reenter the workforce. Many states provide reentry programs, and so do numerous religious organizations. For example, PACE is a program in Indiana that offers workshops and a fast track to finding employment for felons. Catholic Charities is a nationwide organization that provides opportunities for people from all backgrounds and records. Check out all of these opportunities and search within your state and city for opportunities to gain more training and explore new avenues for finding a job.
List of Companies That Hire Felons (Typically)
Very few companies disclose their policy for hiring felonies publicly. Hiring practices can vary widely based on the job position, the hiring management, the type of felony and how long ago the felony occurred, and other factors, so we can’t guarantee the hiring practices of every location for each of the companies listed. Many franchises have the ability to create their own hiring process and don’t necessarily adhere to a uniform corporate policy, and of course, there are lots of other factors that contribute to hiring decisions outside of a criminal background. Because of all these variables, it’s very difficult to give a definitive list of companies that will hire felons. But to help you in your job search as much as possible, we combed through multiple resources provided for felons and researched employee reports for numerous companies to compile the list below of businesses that are known to hire felons. Average pay figures are drawn from employee reports on Glassdoor and other aggregate reporting sites. You’ll even be able to essentially learn of the highest paying jobs for felons by reviewing this list of employers who hire felons.
1. ACE Hardware
- Company’s Specialization: Equipment and tools for home and maintenance projects
- Jobs Available for Felons: Retail Sales Associate, Sales Floor Associate, Department Manager, Assistant Store Manager, etc.
- Average Pay: $8.85 – $12.39 per hour
- Additional Benefits: Insurance, tuition assistance, employee assistance program, flexible work hours, etc.
- Read more about job opportunities with ACE Hardware here.
- Company’s Specialization: Grocery store with pharmacy
- Jobs Available for Felons: Courtesy Clerk, Cashier, Manager, Supervisors, Corporate Office Jobs, Supply Office Jobs, Pharmacy Jobs, etc.
- Average Pay: $8.53 – $13.94 per hour
- Additional Benefits: Comprehensive benefits package, promotion from within, etc.
- Read more about job opportunities with Albertsons here.
3. Dairy Queen
- Company’s Specialization: Fast food (burgers, specialty drinks, ice cream, cakes, etc.)
- Jobs Available for Felons: Cashier, Crew Member, Team Member, Shift Leader, etc.
- Average Pay: $7.00 – $13.00 per hour
- Additional Benefits: Benefits packages, discounts, etc.
- Read more about job opportunities with Dairy Queen here.
4. Goodwill Industries
- Company’s Specialization: Retail store offering gently used clothing, accessories, and house supplies.
- Jobs Available for Felons: Retail Sales Associate, Assistant Manager, Production Supervisor, etc.
- Average Pay: $8.97 – $15.05 per hour
- Additional Benefits: Basic skills development, employment-readiness training, occupational skills training, job placement assistance, and life skills training.
- Read more about job opportunities with Goodwill Industries here.
5. Goodyear Auto Service
- Company’s Specialization: Auto service center and tire retailer
- Jobs Available For Felons: Sales Associate, Alignment Specialist, General Service Associate, etc.
- Average Pay: $7.25 – $16.57 per hour
- Additional Benefits: Medical plans, 401k, paid vacations, and certification reimbursement
- Read more about job opportunities with Goodyear Auto Service here.
6. Men’s Wearhouse
- Company’s Specialization: Retail clothing and suits for men
- Jobs Available for Felons: Customer Service Associate, Operations Manager, Store Manager, etc.
- Average Pay: $9.00 – $14.50 per hour
- Additional Benefits: Insurance, Flexible Spending Account (FSA), employee stock purchase program, merchandise discounts, paid holidays, vacation time, etc.
- Read more about job opportunities with Men’s Wearhouse here.
- Company’s Specialization: Retail store for lumber, tools, and equipment for house and building projects
- Jobs Available for Felons: Team Associate, Cashier, Customer Service Associate, Call Center Representative, Store Manager, etc.
- Average Pay: $10.55 – $18.06 per hour
- Additional Benefits: Insurance, paid vacation, sick pay, Lowe’s merchandise discount, free or discounted tax preparation services, etc.
- Read more about job opportunities with Lowe’s here.
- Company’s Specialization: Retail store and salon for pets
- Jobs Available for Felons: Sales Associate, Groomer, Pet Stylist, Salon Manager, Store Manager, etc.
- Average Pay: $8.92 – $15.83 per hour
- Additional Benefits: Insurance, paid time off, associate discount, tuition assistance, adoption assistance, etc.
- Read more about job opportunities with PetSmart here.
9. TradeWinds Island Resorts
- Company’s Specialization: Leisure, travel, and tourism
- Jobs Available for Felons: Bartender, Maintenance, Kitchen Helper, Front Desk Agent, Valet, Line Cook, etc.
- Average Pay: $10.00 per hour
- Additional Benefits: $2,000 signing bonus, internal promotions, etc.
- Read more about job opportunities with TradeWinds Island Resorts here.
10. United Airlines
- Company’s Specialization: Air travel and service
- Jobs Available for Felons: Transportation Agent, Security Agent, Transportation Lead, Ground Services Crew, etc.
- Average Pay: $8.00 – $19.00 per hour
- Additional Benefits: Travel benefits, insurance, bonuses, wellness program, paid time off, social clubs, etc.
- Read more about job opportunities with United Airlines here.
- Company’s Specialization: Cell phone communications service
- Jobs Available for Felons: Sales Consultant, Retail Sales Representative, Field Service Technician, etc.
- Average Pay: $13.00 – $24.30 per hour
- Additional Benefits: A matching gifts program, discounts on Verizon products, performance-based incentives, etc.
- Read more about job opportunities with Verizon here.
Local, Regional Jobs That Hire Felons
Here’s a clever way to find places that hire felons. One option for getting hired with a criminal record is to look at, not only large national brands but also smaller, “mom-and-pop” type businesses, especially if you have a personal connection with someone who works there. These places are less likely to have a blanket ban on hiring people with felonies as a corporate policy (which, again, is rarely disclosed upfront).
Some of the industries that are known to most commonly provide jobs for felons are fields relating to construction, sawmills, restaurants, and retail. Although these may not be the jobs you wish to hold for your entire life, many felons have been able to start in entry-level positions and work their way up to management, securing financial stability and honing their professional skills in the process. Truck driving is another industry (which, thanks to a national shortage of drivers, can be extremely lucrative) that offers opportunities for felons; we’ve provided a list of trucking companies that are known to hire felons, including those that offer paid training to help you get started in the industry.
Above all, don’t get discouraged if you get numerous rejections; there’s no doubt it can be difficult to get a job with a felony on your record, but it’s possible.
Jobs for Felons: Final Thoughts
Be sure to look around locally and ask for help from programs for felons to get jobs. Looking to make money now, while you wait to hear back from those job applications? Read this article about how to make $100 right now. While you polish your resume, use these personal accomplishment examples as ideas. Good luck with the job hunt.