LOUISVILLE, Ky. — It can be challenging to start fresh when your past mistakes are following you around. Some Kentuckians got a chance to clean-up their records on Friday morning at Goodwill in Louisville, at an expungement clinic. Job seekers had the opportunity to start the process of getting their records wiped clean of past criminal convictions, for a chance at starting new careers.
Goodwill has long had the reputation of being a second-chance employer, but by holding the expungement clinic, they hope other businesses can be the same without even realizing it.
Daneisha Whitman was one clinic participant to shuffle through the crowded warehouse on Broadway on Friday morning. After meeting with an attorney to get some misdemeanor convictions erased, she said: “I feel a little free.”
Whitman explained some mistakes in her past such as a marijuana misdemeanor counted her out of her dream job in healthcare. She’s working to turn that around, starting here.
“Every job I’ve been to, my background has come back and kicked me out of all the opportunity I have,” said Whitman, “it follows you for the rest of your life. When they tell you that in the courtroom, they mean it. I didn’t know how serious it was until I woke up and was ready to change my own life.”
Whitman will start her career path by working at Goodwill, hopefully. She’s applied for a job.
“We are actually breaking down barriers for folks that would not otherwise have a chance to gain employment, seek housing, get opportunities that you and I might have,” said Pam Brown, who works for Goodwill in employee relations.
Meanwhile, there’s legislation filed in Kentucky to allow for automatic expungement for certain offenses after a certain amount of time passes.
On Friday, Goodwill covered costs between $150-300 per participant, for those beginning the expungement process; for Whitman, it was $250. There were 165 participants total.