Ex-offenders and North Lawndale natives Derek Brown and Vince Bolton had serious difficulties finding work after serving their time.
Brown said he had a positive interview with Menard's, while Bolton said he applied even though he did not want to work at McDonald's. Neither got a call back.
Chicago Reporter publisher Alden Loury said his experience is not unique. Just 33 percent of black parolees found work, he said, compared with 75 percent of white parolees and 58 percent of Latino parolees.
The Rev. Robin Hood said the city needs to think differently about people's skills and to draw on the assets they have.
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