The Lighthouse for Recovery Ministries - A Beacon of Light for the Soul in Need!

Job prospects for the hard to employ are looking up – if only on a temporary basis. But for the 65 million Americans with criminal records, even a temporary job is often out of reach.

Our research  shows that former prisoners with jobs are less likely to go back to prison than those who remain jobless. Given the opportunity, the formerly incarcerated can be productive workers, holding jobs and obtaining job opportunities and employment.  This would benefit former prisoners and their families, and would help contain costly prison population growth while increasing public safety.

Ex-felons have a much lower rate of recidivating when they are released to stable living environment and caring families. Without these two safety nets most ex-felons are DOA-Doomed on Arrival. Ex-felons who are released from prison and acquire gainful employment, have the support of their love ones, and are connected to a higher power are much more likely to stay out of prison longer and in many cases never return. 

Most ex-felons say that their greatest desire upon release is to be given a fair chance to succeed in America. When businesses close their doors to ex-felons and private and public entities refuse to allow ex-felons a chance to work, what other recourse do they have other than selling dope, robbing, carjacking, burglary etc.?

If we are going to hold ex-felons accountable for pulling themselves up by their own boot straps, we have to provide them with some boots and some straps. Ex-felons love their families, lives, children etc. and many of them want to live the American Dream but America in many cases have written them off as nobodies and relegated them to the back waters of society. The American Dream for many ex-felons has become the American Nightmare!

Until America is ready to bring all people to the table and find out what is needed in all communities to reduce crime, America will continue to build prisons and jails and incarcerate people for crimes which could really be avoided. The three greatest predictors of crime are one’s environment, economics and genetics.

Until we address the education issues surrounding poor people and the extreme poverty faced by poor people, we are not even tapping the surface in regards to reducing crime and recidivism. A lack of education produces poverty and poverty breeds crime and criminals go to jail and so the cycle goes. Many of my colleagues might disagree with this statement, but I believe that the one greatest predictor of crime is education. As Horace Mann stated many year ago, Education is the great equalizer.

Finally, there are many ex-felons whose only wish is to be given another chance. A chance to get a good education, a chance to work, and a chance to have their voting rights restored a chance to learn a skill, a chance to get another opportunity. My message to ex-felons is to never give up. Just because you lose a battle in your life it doesn’t mean that you have lost the war.

The Lighthouse for Recovery Ministries will be re-opening our in-house temporary agency, Birmingham Works,
in September 2014 for our clients.

Finding employment
is one of the most difficult task a person with a felony has to
face. Having a sexual offense on your record can make this even more difficult, especially if you live in a state that requires you to not work within a certain distance of places like schools and parks.

The Lighthouse for Recovery Ministries
Social Service Agency Client Employment Application
for Job Assistance.

Please note:  Print the application for each client and once the application has been completed,  please email the application to

           Our Executive Director will contact you with the date and time for the initial interview for your client with our Readiness Group.

The Lighthouse For Recovery Ministries


Please note:  All case managers in state and federal prisons, please have the inmate fill out the application and email the application or the inmate can mail it to our address at 140 58th St. N, Birmingham, AL  35212.





What is WOTC?

WOTC is a Federal tax credit available to employers who hire and retain veterans and individuals from other target groups with significant barriers to employment. Employers claim about $1 billion in tax credits each year under the WOTC program.

How does WOTC work?

The tax credit employers can claim depends on the target group of the individual hired, the wages paid to that individual in the first year of employment, and the number of hours that individual worked. There is also a maximum tax credit that can be earned.

  • If the individual works at least 120 hours, the employer may claim a tax credit equal to 25% of the individual's first year wages, up to the maximum tax credit.
  • If the individual works at least 400 hours, the employer may claim a tax credit equal to 40% of the individual's first year wages, up to the maximum tax credit.

Only for the Long-term Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) target group, the credit is available to employers who hire members of this group for a two-year period.

  • In the first year, employers may claim a tax credit equal to:
  • 25% of the first-year wages, up to the maximum tax credit, if the individual works at least 120 hours.
  • 40% of the first-year wages, up to the maximum tax credit, if the individual works at least 400 hours.

  • In the second year, employers may claim a tax credit equal to:
  • 25% of the second-year wages, up to the maximum tax credit, if the individual works at least 120 hours.
  • 50% of the second-year wages, up to the maximum tax credit, if the individual works at least 400 hours.

Who can be hired?

  • Veterans
  • TANF Recipients
  • SNAP (Food Stamp) Recipients
  • Designated Community Residents (living in Empowerment Zones or Rural Renewal Counties)
  • Vocational Rehabilitation Referral
  • Ex-felons- An individual who has been convicted of a felony and has a hiring date that is not more than 1 year after the conviction or release from prison.
  • Supplemental Security Income Recipients
  • Summer Youth Employee (living in Empowerment Zones)

For more information, visit the WOTC website.

Financial Aid Eligibility for People with Felonies

You need to know which convictions limit your eligibility for financial aid. You also need to know what you can do about it.

There is a misconception that no ex-offenders are eligible for financial aid. In fact, many people with felony convictions can receive financial aid but don't apply. They miss their chance to go to college based on wrong information.

For more information, click here.

STEP AHEAD helps job seekers with felony convictions and other criminal charges know their work options, set goals, get training, and be successful in their job search.

Start with the Assess Yourself section, or a different section that interests you.

Jobs Affected by Criminal Record

Before you job search, know which work restrictions and regulations can keep a person with a conviction from working in certain jobs.

Before you make a career plan or start to job search, you need to know if you are restricted from working in certain types of occupations. This is a small list of jobs compared to many types of careers available to you.

There are certain jobs not open to someone with a criminal conviction. The exact occupations and the type of restrictions depend on your offense and various state and federal regulations.

Before you start training or look for a job, find out what, if any, restrictions you might have for work.

Criminal Records and Your Job Search

Employers do background checks on all potential employees, not just ex-offenders. Knowing how and why employers look at your criminal record can help you in your job search.

It's important to know the facts about your own record when you're job searching. Then you can be sure your record doesn't hurt your job hunt any more than it needs to.

For instance, some ex-offenders can have their criminal record expunged, pardoned, or sealed. Read below to see if this might be an option for you.

The information in the pages listed below is for informational purposes only. Talk to a legal professional to find out if you are eligible to have any part of your record changed.

Employment and Your Parole Status

Not having a job can affect more than your wallet. The consequences of unemployment can affect all parts of your transition.

Looking for work and finding a job in a reasonable amount of time are often conditions of supervised prison release. That means that if you are not actively looking for work or do not have a job you might be in violation of your parole.

What to Do When You Can't Find Work
  • It is highly recommended that you communicate honestly and frequently with your Parole Officer (PO) about your job search and employment status.
  • Be ready to show your PO documentation of your job search when you meet.

If you are having trouble finding employment, tell your PO. He or she might be able to help. Remember, your PO is working with several other ex-felons with similar experiences. He or she may be able to provide you with job leads.

If your PO can see that you are trying your best in your job search, her or she will recognize your sincere desire to find work and might be willing to help you. On the other hand, if you show up to meetings with no job search log, and are unable to identify how you have spent your time, your PO is less likely to be sympathetic.

Legislation for ex-felon reentry programs

Three important pieces of legislation have been passed in the last decade that address the problems that ex-prisoners face when attempting to reenter their communities. These aim of these initiatives is to provide aid to both the ex-prisoner and her or his community.
  • 2001 The Faith-Based Initiative - This act of legislation makes federal money accessible to private individuals, non-profit organizations, and faith-based organizations. Most federal money addresses the individual needs of ex-felons by means of non-profit and faith-based organizations.
  • 2004 The Prisoner Re-Entry Initiative: This proposed $300 million over a four year period. The goals was to help rebuild urban communities by helping ex-felons in their efforts to "re-enter" their communities.This money was earmarked for job mentoring and placement, counseling, and other social services. The Prisoner Re-entry Initiative was a product of the collaboration of the Departments of Labor, Justice, Housing and Urban Development.
  • 2008 The Second Chance Act. 326 million targeted to local governments and non-profit organizations for various projects such as help with housing, medical assistance, substance abuse, and jobs. This act of legislation was the result of the collaborative efforts of a broad based coalition prison advocacy groups, civil rights groups, religious organizations, and law enforcement.

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