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Honey business acts as a second chance for former offenders

Posted on May 5th, 2011 Read time: 1 minutes

Brenda Palms-Barber is a new kind of recruiter. Her company, Sweet Beginnings, sells honey-infused skin products, which can be purchased at popular establishments like Whole Foods Market, according to Inc. magazine.

The one difference? The only employees on Barber's payroll are ex-criminal offenders.

The media outlet explains that Palms-Barber heads a staffing agency called the North Lawndale Employment Network in Chicago. After experiencing difficulty convincing employers to hire clients with criminal records, she took it upon herself to employ the former inmates with her own business.

Sweet Beginnings is a subsidiary of NLEN. Employees are paid minimum wage and payroll costs are subsidized by the state, the news source adds.

The experience at Barber's company can do wonders for the resumes of ex-cons. Most workers stay on for 90 days, and roughly 85 percent of employees find an unsubsidized job after their time at the honey business.

Additionally, fewer than 4 percent of Sweet Beginnings' workers have landed back in prison, compared with a national average of 65 percent.

Another industry readily hiring reformed offenders is nursing homes, according to The New York Times. More than 90 percent of elderly living establishments employ one or more people who have been convicted of at least one crime. 

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