Small Businesses Put Ex-cons to Work

Small Businesses Put Ex-cons to Work

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bakery worker is ex-con -Safer Foundation photoTen years ago, Debbie Jakacki, owner of Jakacki Bag & Barrel in Chicago, a family business that’s been around since 1942, found herself continually frustrated by her employees. “We didn’t have a lot of people who had a great work ethic,” says Jakacki.

After learning about the Safer Foundation, a Chicago-based nonprofit that helps people with criminal records find gainful employment, she decided to give it a try.

It has worked out very well for Jakacki, who now figures she has hired over 100 former prisoners.

For 40 years Safer Foundation, with its staff of nearly 350, has been assisting clients in 20 facilities throughout Illinois and eastern Iowa.

The foundation provides considerable relief to the state’s economy, in the end saving taxpayers millions of dollars. Illinois pays more than $38,000 each year to incarcerate an inmate. When the former prisoners find employment, they no longer become a drain on the economy, and instead, become valuable contributors. With more than 4,000 job starts in 2011, Safer Foundation saved the state more than $152 million.

(READ the full story from Reuters)