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From Kimberly Townsend
Received: Sept. 5
Columbus is said to be one of the best towns in America to live. It has some of the most beautiful and interesting architecture, which has gotten Columbus into National Geographic. It has many successful and prosperous companies to employ the residents and states that its unemployment rate has went down significantly. But the truth is Columbus is a trouble-ridden town that refuses to face its problems.
Every day we read in our local newspaper of robberies, drug labs, violence and many other problems. Columbus has a very high crime rate and has many individuals in the court system. Some may be in jail, work release, house arrest or on probation. Our town also has many people who are homeless or cannot obtain a job to support themselves or their families.
The truth is, if you live in Columbus and have made mistakes in your life, you are in the wrong town to try and turn it around. If you have a criminal history, and especially a felony, well, good luck on finding a job to support your family. Most companies in Columbus will not hire people with a criminal history, let alone a felony. All the companies state they are an equal opportunity employer, but that is not true. You can go into any temporary agency in Columbus, and they will tell you what companies will not hire a felon. Which by the way, a company is not legally allowed to say they will not hire a felon. The EEOC states this.
The fact is if a company hires a person within a year of their release from jail or prison, they actually get tax credits from the government. This is called the WOTC. This a tax credit of few thousand dollars for every person that they would hire. Also, there is a federal bonding program available for companies to purchase on any employee they hire that has a criminal history. This program is free to the employer and the new employee. But yet most of the companies in Columbus refuse to give people a chance to do the right things to contribute to the community in a positive way.
Columbus needs to open its eyes and see that people need a chance to redeem themselves and live a normal life and have a positive input into the city. If these companies would open up and help some of the people who want to change, I believe Columbus could be what it claims to be.
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