Every year in the fall, South Carolina hosts a workshop designed to help ex-criminal offenders get back on their feet and find employment. This year's Second Chance Forum was held on Thursday, November 3rd in the city of Greenville. Per a report from WSPA News, this year's event marked the sixth annual workshop. The event originated in 2010 with the sponsorship of the South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole, and Pardon Services and State Senator Karl Allen.
The Second Chance Forum is a two-part event spread out over several hours. The first hour is a workshop session covering expungement. This segment of the event gives attendees a chance to meet with experts and find out about their chances of getting past convictions expunged or pardoned. Some charges—including murder, rape, and child pornography possession—can never be expunged. Others can be removed from a person's record after a certain number of years of law-abiding behavior.
The second part of the event is a full job fair, giving ex-offenders a chance to meet with potential employers. Per the WSPA News report, the job fair at this year's Second Chance Forum included more than 40 companies. Some, the report said, were willing to conduct interviews "on the spot." All attendees were encouraged to bring up-to-date resumes listing their job histories and to dress as they might for a job interview.
The Second Chance Forum never requires attendees to RSVP, show an invitation, or pay for entry. While the workshop and job fair are specifically geared toward individuals with criminal records, the event's organizers have stressed that anyone looking for a job is welcome to attend the event.
The inclusive nature of the event, say organizers, is meant to increase attendance. Per the South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole, and Pardon Services, it isn't uncommon for ex-offenders to miss out on jobs or be denied leases at residential facilities due to their criminal records. By providing education about expungement and access to employers open to hiring ex-offenders, the Second Chance Forum hopes to provide a road to rebuilding.