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San Diego Nonprofit Helps Ex-Offenders Get Jobs

Photo caption: Graduates of the San Diego nonprofit Second Chance are seen in this undated p...

Photo credit: Rebecca Antuña, RoseRed Creative

Graduates of the San Diego nonprofit Second Chance are seen in this undated photo.

San Diego Nonprofit Helps Ex-Offenders Get Jobs


Robert Coleman, president and CEO, Second Chance

Tony Torres, participant, Second Chance


The unemployment rate for San Diego County this year has held steady at about 4.7 percent, a big drop from the double digit unemployment figures of just a few years ago. But for people released from jail or prison who are trying to re-enter the workforce, the estimated unemployment rate is 40 percent to 50 percent.

San Diego's Second Chance program is helping some beat those odds.

Through a four-week program, the organization teaches ex-offenders how to land a job, including dressing for an interview. The nonprofit is holding its 10th annual job and resource fair on Tuesday.

Tony Torres learned about the program through a friend at a substance abuse treatment facility.

“I was really hopeless,” he told KPBS Midday Edition on Monday. “I just lost completely everything.”

Torres will graduate from the program on Friday, and he hopes to find work in the construction field.

He has reasons to be optimistic. About 75 percent of Second Chance participants get hired within six months.

Robert Coleman, the program’s president and CEO, said that Second Chance works to ensure that participants remain employed 12 months later. Besides teamwork, he credits the students’ motivation for the program’s success rate.

“When they graduate from Second Chance, there is a real air of I can achieve and I can do this,” Coleman said.

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