LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — A job fair took over the Central Bank Center in downtown Lexington Friday, but its focus was unique: second chance employment for people with criminal backgrounds.
More than 250 people registered for the Clean Slate Job Fair and Expungement Clinic, but walk-ins also arrived throughout the day.
Tiffany Brown with the Mayor’s Office spearheaded the inaugural event.
“It's not about lowering the standard, it's about widening the gate,” she said. “So more people have access to opportunities in the workforce, housing, education.”
There were more than 1,000 job openings represented at the fair. Attorneys from Legal Aid of the Bluegrass were also on-site to help people navigate the expungement process for low-level offenses. Lexington Public Library even showed up so people could polish their resumes.
“It's very important they know what you've done,” Lori Davis explained about the resume-building process. “What your skills are, and how you can contribute to their organization or company.”
The rows of companies included Wright of Kentucky. The company specializes in traffic control and prides itself on offering employment to people who’ve been incarcerated before.
“Sometimes people need a second chance,” Alexander Clay said. “They need that kind of help. They need a way to get back into it. And at Wright, we really like to offer that to people.”
One woman didn’t want us to show her face or include her name, but she was willing to share her success story with us. She said she showed up to the clinic to speak with an attorney, and within 45 minutes, her record was expunged — a second chance she said everyone deserves.
“Everyone makes mistakes,” she said. “We all fall short sometimes.”
But finally, after 10 years trying to clear her record, she walked out with job applications and a renewed sense of hope.
“Words can't explain,” she said. “So yeah, I'm happy.”