Resources for employment after a criminal record

Freedom concept. The prisoner left the prison. Bending metal bars

To help overcome job search and employment barriers due to a criminal record, CareerOneStop offers targeted tools and websites for both the currently incarcerated and those in the community. Whether you’re a workforce professional who helps individuals find employment, or a job seeker who has a criminal record, CareerOneStop can help.

According to the Bureau of Justice, approximately 77 million Americans, or one in three adults, has a criminal record—whether an arrest record, criminal charges, or a conviction.

A criminal record can be a significant barrier to employment, yet particularly as U.S. employers face workforce shortages, there is great opportunity for this pool of potential workers. Many individuals who have a record are eager for stable employment and have skills and knowledge that are in demand by employers.

CareerOneStop ReEntry website

For individuals preparing to transition out of incarceration, CareerOneStop ReEntry ( offers key resources, job search tools, and guidance to plan for job search and employment success. The website is a nearly identical version of CareerOneStop that has been developed specifically for use in correctional facilities.

The site offers inmates, instructors, and other workforce intermediaries access to the full range of tools, resources, and information without active Internet links. There are no active links to external websites, and no social media sharing or other external functionality.

For example, the Job Finder tool offers access to job postings across the U.S. ReEntry users are able to enter job titles and locations to search for current openings and can access a detail screen about each job, but are not able to go out to the company’s website or complete a job application.

CareerOneStop ReEntry is used currently in at least 197 locations in 30 different states; it is typically installed on tablets that are pre-loaded with resources.

Job Search Help for Ex-Offenders website

Job Search Help for Ex-Offenders provides tips, information and resources for job search, application, and job success for anyone in the public with a criminal record. (This site is part of the collection of websites that make up CareerOneStop, so it’s also available on the ReEntry website mentioned above, which includes content but no external links.)

To facilitate the use of this website, CareerOneStop developed some special features and put them on the home page for easy access:

  • an overview video to introduce the website and how to use it
  • A Get Started Guide that suggests where to start on the website based on your questions or needs
  • Since most correctional facilities do not yet provide digital content to inmates, there is a comprehensive PDF of all pages in the website, along with all pages of the State Resources so they can be downloaded and printed on paper for use in facilities or any setting.

There are three main sections of the site:

  • Explore Careers offers information on job skills, interests, work options and goal setting
  • Get Training provides ideas on gaining basic skills, earning job credentials, and paying for training
  • Find a Job includes tips for job applications and resumes, how to find job openings, and ideas about how to talk about your conviction in interviews

For local resources, the State Resource Finder offers contact information to help with essentials, including:

  • Basic needs like housing, food support and medical care
  • Finding legal assistance
  • Getting a driver’s license and your vital records

ReEntry Program Finder

A key tool on both sites is the ReEntry Program Finder, which lists reentry programs in all states and many cities. Reentry programs specialize in helping people overcome the barriers caused by having a criminal record. Services often include help with employment and training. Program offerings vary, so it can be helpful to contact several programs to learn details about their menu of services.

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