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Career Services: Special Populations

This guide is designed to assist you through career planning with helpful links to online resources. The following sources in this guide are good places to begin your research.

Re-Entry Resources

New York State License Re-Entry Guide 

The New York State License Guides explain the process for obtaining licenses in 25, high-demand occupations and professions for people who have conviction records.

The New York Public Library Connections 2020
A free guide for formerly incarcerated people in New York City

Legal Action Center training, Getting Ready: Applying for a Job with a Criminal Record and handout on Legal Protections for People with Criminal Records are good to understand the landscape of job searching. For advice on how to navigate the whole process of resumes, interviews, etc, I'll recommend our very own Connections book, pages 309-359.

Under New York law, employers and state agencies that issue licenses cannot reject job-seekers simply because they have criminal convictions. Legally, job-seekers can only be rejected if there is a direct relationship between the conviction and the job or license being sought, or if hiring the applicant would pose an unreasonable risk to persons or property. As the Corrections Law states, employers must look at job-seekers as individuals.

These tabs include job-search guidesguidelines for specific fields, training resources, relevant laws and policies, and sample letters, briefs, and motions that address employment discrimination based on criminal records--including employment denials, terminations, suspensions, and illegal hiring.

Links to the New York State Corrections Law, the New York City Human Rights Law, and the New York State Division of Human Rights, all of which lay out policies that provide protections against discrimination in hiring for people with criminal convictions. The folder also includes an outline of relevant legal decisions, and information on filing discrimination claims with the Division of Human Rights.

  • Fair-Chance Implementation Case Studies For Government Agencies (NELP) (2015)
    LINK More Info
  • Legal Outline of Authorities and Decisions Related to Criminal Records and Employment (National Employment Law Project) 2006
    PDF More Info
  • New York State Corrections Law Article 23-A: "Licensure and Employment of Persons Previously Convicted of One or More Criminal Offenses
    DOC More Info
  • Legislative History of Article 23A and Certificates of Good Conduct of NYS Corrections Law
    PDF More Info
  • Powerpoint Presentation on Employment Law & Criminal Records in New York 2010
    PPT More Info

Guides for job-seekers with criminal records and their advocates to prepare for and assist in the job search process. Included are materials that explain the basics of the anti-discrimination laws, and what to do when facing employment discrimination based on criminal records.

  • Reentry Law Project: Small Business Toolkit (City Bar Justice Center)
  • Criminal Background Checks: What are your Rights? (National HIRE Network)
  • Employment Discrimination Fact Sheet for Workers (National Employment Law Center)
  • The Prime Objective: A Guide to Preparing the Job-Seeking Ex-Offender (NYS Department of Labor)

Sample letters for job-seekers to send to employers and agencies. The letters address such topics as: protections for job-seekers with criminal records; asking about the reason for denial, and asking for a copy of the background report; explaining the significance of Certificates of Relief; and unlawful termination based on the discovery of a criminal record, among many others. 

  • General Letter Explaining Protections for Job-Seekers with Criminal Records (The Bronx Defenders / Legal Action Center)
  • Letter Re: Job Advertisement that Specified Against Applicants with Criminal History (Legal Action Center)
  • Letter Re: Job Interview/Application that Illegally Asked about Arrests (Legal Action Center)
  • Letter Re: Illegal Employment Denial Based on Violation Conviction (The Bronx Defenders)
  • Letter Requesting Reason for Job Denial and Copy of Background Report (Legal Action Center)
  • Letter for Challenge to Termination Based on Discovery of a Criminal Record (Legal Action Center)
  • Response Letter with Information re: Open Case and Criminal Charges (The Bronx Defenders)
  • Letter to Employer Explaining Significance of Certificate of Relief from Disabilities (Center for Community Alternatives)
  • Letter to DOE Appealing Termination Based on Old Criminal Record (Legal Action Center)
  • Letter to Division of Licensing Services Stating Charges have Been Dismissed and Sealed
  • Letter to City Agency Re: Denial of Job or Suspension Based on ACD (The Bronx Defenders)
  • Letter to NYS Department of State Stating License Still Valid Post-Arrest
  • Character Letter for Applicant for Nursing License (Center for Community Alternatives)
  • Letter to National Association of Professional Background Screeners Re: Illegal for Credit Reporting Agencies to Maintain and Report on Violations (Legal Action Center)

The list below features employers whose official hiring practices do not exclude ex-offenders and felons. There are also many employers on the list that have made a pledge to be fair when it comes to employing, training and promoting qualified people that happen to have past criminal backgrounds

There are companies that hire felons. Some people with criminal records believe they cannot get jobs. The truth is, ex-offenders and felons get hired every day. There are employers that offer job opportunities to people with records. 

Seasonal Jobs

Many job banks also post part-time or temporary employment for college students. For summer jobs, internships, and volunteer options locally, nationally, and internationally check out these websites. (See more at Career Resources: Nonprofit Careers.)  

Career Resources

Information and Support for Job Seekers with Disabilities

Mature job seekers

This section provides information and education to help people age 50-plus find a job, tweak résumés, polish interviewing skills, negotiate a salary and benefits, explore a second career path, explore flexible work arrangements, consider self-employment, and more.

  • AARP Foundation's Back to Work 50+ program helps older workers find better jobs by assisting with job training, career counseling and networking. You can learn more about smart job-seeking strategies as well as gain the support of national and local job-assistance partners.
  • For job seekers 50 and over; formerly called Senior Job Bank.
  • YourEncore: For older scientists, engineers and product developers.
  • USA Jobs: Lets you browse federal government job openings.
  • The Riley Guide: Career advice plus links to thousands of websites that offer job postings and resources.
  • Links to a wide range of employment websites and career resources.
  • Weddle's: Internet resources on job hunting and career management; includes online bookstore and biweekly newsletter.
  • Quintessential Careers: Comprehensive site for job search and career advice. Use search page to find articles geared to 50+ workers, including changing careers, résumés, age bias and lots more.
  • Wall Street Journal - Careers: The Wall Street Journal's executive career site. Find job postings, salary information, advice on managing your career and an online forum.
  • Career One-Stop Centers: Centers provide employment assistance to job seekers in over 2,000 communities across the U.S., offering help with finding a job, planning your next career steps or change, locating training, and coping with job loss. To find one near you, call toll-free 877-US2-JOBS (877-872-5627).
  • U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA): Provides information, one-on-one counseling and training at no charge to individuals who seek to start a business. SBA centers are located throughout the country and have libraries, special services for women entrepreneurs, and access to market research databases.
  • Execu-Net: Find job opportunities and networking for executive jobs in the $100K employment market. Requires paid membership (30-, 90-, 180- and 360-day options).
  • 40Plus: A volunteer organization devoted to helping its members find jobs. It offers a training course, job search counseling, résumé development, weekly peer support meetings and other resources, all supported by member fees.
  • Five O'Clock Club: Career coaching and outplacement network for professionals, managers and executives. Offers a five-volume set of job search books and presentations by professional career counselors. Members can attend weekly meetings or join by teleconference and network with other members. Membership fees are based on number of sessions attended. Free articles are available on website.

Young Adults 16+