Project Clean Slate
Hi Chad, tell me about your role and the mission of your organization.
Hello, my name is Chad Marr and I am the Business Services Specialist and Success Coach at Michigan Works! West Central (I cover Mecosta and Newaygo counties). As a Business Services Specialist, I work with employers to help find and attract talent, as well as assist with programs that offer training dollars such as the Going PRO Talent Fund, Incumbent Worker Program and Apprenticeship assistance. As a Success Coach, I spend time on site at local employers participating in our Business Resource Network. This grants their employees resources as well as supportive service money to aid them in overcoming barriers that may negatively affect their employment.
TO CONTINUALLY IMPROVE A WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT SYSTEM THAT PRODUCES A WORKFORCE WITH THE REQUIRED SKILLS TO ATTRACT, RETAIN AND EXPAND BUSINESS AND ENHANCE OUR REGIONAL ECONOMY.
What are the biggest barriers people have in finding work?
The most common barriers are transportation, childcare, housing and having a criminal record. Being in a more rural setting, we find a lack of public transportation and affordable childcare to be the most difficult to overcome. Although many employers are open to hiring offenders, many corporate policies simply won’t hire an individual depending on the charges, which also proves to be a large barrier.
I hear you have a new program at Michigan Works! West Central based on the Clean Slate Legislation. What is the Clean Slate Legislation?
The Clean Slate for Michigan Program was signed into law last fall, and went into effect in mid-April. This program gives individuals with a criminal history expanded assistance, as well as opportunities to have their record expunged. The program helps individuals gain access to better employment, housing and educational opportunities.
Project Clean Slate is for returning citizens choosing to get their eligible convictions expunged. Many individuals find this to be a very large employment barrier, and are seeking this service to move forward from their past. The process is not always easy, and can be very confusing for some. Reaching out to our Expungement Navigator may prove to be of great value.
What types of past crimes are eligible for expungement?
I would direct anyone interested in the program to reach out to our Expungement Navigator as each situation is different. Larceny, drug charges and retail fraud are just a few examples of charges that may be eligible for expungement. Note that all charges are not eligible, and there are many different circumstances surrounding them individually.
How does a person find out more information or apply?
Anyone looking to take advantage of this great opportunity can call our Expungement Navigator directly at (231) 538-0728, or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org. A call to the Newaygo County Michigan Works! West Central office at (231) 924-3230 also can connect you to the Expungement Navigator.