Kansas City, Mo. Jobs are scarce out there, no matter how impressive the resume.
If that resume listed time in a state penitentiary, imagine just how much more scarce.
Nearly 700,000 people are released from federal and state prisons to their communities each year, about 25,000 between Missouri and Kansas.
Where do they go?
Some end up with a job and pick up a rag at the bright orange and blue All Seasons Car Wash.
Here near downtown Kansas City, Mo., is found one of the grittier tales of good will toward men — as practiced by Gene Krahenbuhl, owner of that car wash.
Take Nick (no last name, he asked, no need to embarrass family). He’s no saint. Arrests have plucked him off the streets seven times for driving while intoxicated. He thinks himself lucky his actions haven’t killed anyone.
Right now he’s trying to kick the booze and become a productive citizen by earning a living, paying taxes, staying out of trouble. He knows job rejection well. Would-be employers have drawn back in their chair, frowned and stopped listening when they saw his check mark in the “yes” box next to: Have you ever been convicted of a felony?
Krahenbuhl is the only one who would hire him.
For 10 years Krahenbuhl has been hiring felons as young as 18 and as old as 60 and convicted of things including writing bad checks, robbery, sex offenses and assault. No murderers though, that he knows of. But Krahenbuhl doesn’t ask for details. He does know that not all his employees have served time in prison, and a few are just down-on-their-luck homeless.
“It has become very evident to me that these people just need a chance,” said the 47-year-old Raymore man.