Permian Basin Gives Felons A Second Chance At Life

Permian Basin Gives Felons A Second Chance At Life

Odessa, TX (Local Big 2 News) -"If they know you're a felon, they will judge you right off the bat," said Lorinda Reynolds, a convicted felon.
Odessa, TX (Local Big 2 News) -"If they know you're a felon, they will judge you right off the bat," said Lorinda Reynolds, a convicted felon.

Reynolds struggled.

She tells me it took her a long time to fully grasp the saying, "honesty is the best policy."

As a felon, telling employers stopped her from getting jobs.

"The quicker we can find them jobs, we know for a fact that you know, they won't enter back into the system," said Willie Taylor, CEO of Workforce Solutions of the Permian Basin.

Taylor says business isn't booming just for oil, but for felons looking for a change.

Taylor explains to me the Permian Basin job market ripes with opportunities for job seekers.

"Really more jobs are out there available than we have job seekers for," Taylor said.

Business owners like Donna Griffin see the effects of the boom.

"It's easy to hire someone but to keep them, 'cause they'll come in, they'll just work a few weeks maybe or a few days and then they get a job in the oil field and then they move on," Griffin said.

But Griffin tells me her Odessa restaurant, Pojo's, hires reliable employees, some convicted felons.

"They're at the wrong place at the wrong time, they make bad decisions," Griffin said.

It's not a company policy or program she follows but a belief in fresh start.

Reynolds applied for a job just over a year ago and still works here.

"It made me feel like I had accomplished a lot. And I have accomplished a lot in the time that I've been here," Reynolds said.

A lot with her own car and her own place and not to mention a friendly working environment with zero judgement.

"One of the requirements when you get out, you know you have to be looking for a job and trying to get a job," Taylor said.

The chance at Pojo's gave her a new life. Without it, the job search would probably continue.

"For the simple fact that a lot of people don't trust them," Reynolds said.

Workforce solutions of the Permian Basin sees between 75 to a hundred felons a month looking to get that first job to turn their life around.

"We've had people that have made this their career, or they've moved on to other careers after starting here, some have come back to school."

So now, because of her positive experience, Reynolds lives by the one tip.

"Honesty is your best policy, regardless," Reynolds said.





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