Syrtia Lindsey, 38, says every time she went on a job interview, the outcome was always the same.
“The interview process would go great and then there would be no return phone call, and I know it's because the check marking box of 'Am I a felon' answer Yes or No," she said.
In 2007 Lindsey was driving along Waggoner road when she struck another car injuring three people including herself.
She was convicted of vehicular assault.
Suddenly, the registered nurse found herself in jail and unemployed.
"I was a registered nurse working 60 to 70 hours a week I have a Master’s degree and none of that seemed to matter until you check the felony box," she said.
But thanks to a program called Restoration Academy, which gives felons job connections and job skills, Lindsey now has a job with the city of Columbus.
“If it wasn't for Restoration Academy, I know I would still be submitting applications, still waiting for a phone call still going through the interview process and ending up with nothing again," she said.
Suzanne Coleman-Tolbert runs the Restoration Academy.
“Thirteen out of the 15 people that started the program now have employment that's pretty good and this is our second year", she said.
As for Lindsey, she hopes other employers will look outside the box and not discount those who have to admit to a felony on an employment form.
She says employers just might be surprised how hard people like her are willing to work.
“I guarantee you the ex-offender is going to work twice as hard because we have something to prove to you why we need this job, why we deserve to work and why we need a second chance,” she said.
For more information about restoration academy call 559-5067 or www.cowic.org.