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Former inmates finding more job opportunities during pandemic recovery

Updated: May. 27, 2021 at 8:19 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - A group that’s consistently struggled to find employment is benefiting from pandemic recovery. Employers said they can’t find enough workers to hire and that’s opening the door for former inmates to get jobs.

Michelle Heinz, who is the Executive Director for Inside Out Reentry Community, said the environment for former inmates to get jobs has improved.

She said she believes all the unemployment signs mean employers can’t be as picky.

“With more job openings around in our communities, I think employers are opening up a little more on who they might hire,” she said.

But, one economic expert said it’s likely there are multiple reasons for all the help wanted signs across Iowa.

Todd Knoop, who is an economist professor at Cornell College, said there’s not enough data to say there is a labor shortage.

“The labor shortage is a bunch of antidotes,” he said. “We don’t have a lot of great data right now that there is a widespread labor shortage.”

Those could include the cost of childcare and a discrepancy between wages and the jobs available.

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