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Goodwill gives ex-offender second chance at career

Posted at 6:35 PM, May 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-16 18:35:04-04

INDIANAPOLIS -- A man who felt defeated in his job search after being released from jail, found hope and a fulfilling career at Goodwill.

Jeremiah Davis, who is now the manager of Goodwill’s south side outlet, spent time behind bars nearly six years ago and said he applied to nearly 50 jobs only to be turned down.

"The moment they find out you have criminal history, they tell you no," said Davis. "You made a mistake. You walk and you try to better yourself, but that mistake just keeps on haunting you."

Davis said he struggled with the rejection until he found an opportunity at Goodwill through their New Beginnings program, which helps ex-offenders successfully re-enter society.

"He will attribute some of it to Goodwill. It was us - we gave him a chance,” said Cindy Graham, vice president of marketing at Goodwill. “But it is what happens with an individual comes to work for us, it's what is inside them and they can make it. Jeremiah took advantage of every opportunity given to him."

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Officials at Goodwill said of their more than 3,000 employees in central and southern Indiana, about two-thirds have some sort of barrier to employment - including no prior work, lack of education, a disability, or come out of the criminal justice system.

Davis said he enjoys working in an environment where he isn't judged and utilizes his position as a platform to show others that they can turn their lives around too.


"A lot of people like myself are reformed. We're different,” he said. “We're not the same as we used to be. We have children we want to take care of. We want to be able to buy a house and live comfortably and do the things that a lot of people do."