ex-con, career, entrepreneur, black man, injustice

Should Ex-Offenders Apply for Jobs or Start Businesses?

Scripture sets a high bar for men and their roles as providers. 

Give the people these instructions, so that no one may be open to blame. Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. —1 Timothy 5:8

When we give up on our duty to provide for our families, we’re rejecting Christ. Actually, it’s worse. And we don’t get a pass because we have a criminal background. We have to have something to fall back on.

Too many of our fathers gave up easily

They said life is too hard to equip myself to do it God’s way. I’ll stick with the devil I know — the streets. Many Black men still have this mindset.

Meachum Village is about taking extreme ownership of how we contribute to our own broken homes. We have to understand the traps in the world’s systems. This is not so we can make excuses, but so we can overcome these traps with guidance from the Holy Spirit. 

A criminal background makes it hard to get a job, because our country allows blanket discrimination against ex-offenders, even after 20 years of living right. 

Relying only on a job for income is a trap

A job is not the only way to provide for our families. In fact, it’s not even the best way. 

Constantly knocking on closed doors is blocking us from considering other ways to be providers. 

Ex-offenders should consider starting businesses. Nobody checks the CEOs background to buy his company’s products or services. If more Black men start businesses, we can give opportunities to other Black men coming out of prison who need the type of guidance that only we can give each other. 

Lawrence Carpenter was incarcerated twice for drug offenses. Twenty years after his last release he has grown Superclean Professional Janitorial Service to 70 employees.

10 Business ideas with low startup costs:

  1. Car detailing
  2. Painting
  3. Janitorial services
  4. Dog walking/training
  5. Lawn services
  6. Scrap metal recycling
  7. Graphic designer
  8. Audio book narrator
  9. Demolition and renovation clean out
  10. Mechanic 

All of these require some starter skills or training, but you can learn enough to get started on YouTube. And if you are able to get a trade, that’s even better. Ask Yah to give you direction, and he will lead you to the right people and opportunities. 

As a business advisor for the 10K Small Business Program, I work with entrepreneurs who have no background in business, but they have a product or service that people are willing to pay for. There are plenty of free online courses that can teach new business owners the basics. 

Here’s an amazing story from a couple in Chicago. The husband got caught up in the street life, but he became an entrepreneur to turn it around so he could take care of his wife and children. His company is now called, Urban Roots, (formerly Just Us Lawn Care) and has been in business for around 20 years. It’s an amazing story, and I think this story is more realistic for ex-offenders than relying on a job. 

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