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DuComb Center program connects inmates to jobs

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Every Tuesday, Alicia Brown and inmates at the DuComb Center meet and learn how to succeed outside of the center. But today, a few new guests joined the meeting, guests that could change these inmates lives. 

Landing a job is tough there’s no secret about that. Do I have enough experience? Can the job support my family? Will I get along with the other workers? Those are just some of the questions we wonder when looking at a new job. 

But for the eight men and women in this room, another question lingers: Will my felony affect my chances of getting a job?

Erin Rose says it shouldn’t. 

"We believe in giving second chances, sometimes third and fourth chances," said Rose. 

She’s a recruiter for a local company who hires people with a criminal background. 

"You make mistakes and there is good in everyone," said Rose. "And these people here are trying to get back onto their feet.”

Erin helped Alicia Brown back on her feet after Alicia was released from jail for prescription fraud. 

"Don’t judge a book by its cover," said Brown. 

And now Alicia is helping others through a five week program she created called FANS. 

"They’re learning everything that they’ve taken from the last five weeks and are able to put it into action tonight," said Brown.

It connects these DuComb Center inmates to businesses in Michiana who want to hire them. 

“I’m excited, I’m so proud," said Brown. "We’ve been learning about changing the way that we are thinking, positive self-talk, looking at what we have inside of ourselves that prison has given us.”

Alicia says she started it because getting a job is hard enough, but a criminal background shouldn’t make it impossible. 

"For me, it was very difficult because you want to make more money, you want to do better but you have to be willing to start at the bottom and work your way to the top," said Brown. 

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