Washington News Service - It can be hard to find a job, but imagine doing it with a criminal record.
An estimated 70 million people have records - including more than 1.5 million Washingtonians - and they often struggle to find companies willing to hire them.
That's why Richard Bronson started 70 Million Jobs, a website that works with employers who understand the applicants have records and are ready to give them a second chance.
Bronson himself used to work at the brokerage firm made famous in the movie "The Wolf of Wall Street," and served 22 months in federal prison for securities fraud.
He understands the powerful and far reaching effects of employment.
"I've seen firsthand when folks get jobs, families get reunited, and kids look up to parents, and wives look up to husbands," he states. "And when families come together, communities come together. And when communities come together, the country is a much better place." Job seekers can go to 70millionjobs.com to apply.
After launching the site this year, the company announced it is partnering with the City of Los Angeles on a three-month pilot program.
Bronson says many of the employers on his website feel it's their moral responsibility to provide second chances.
He adds the plan is to offer video resumes in the future, so that employers can get more accurate pictures of the applicants.
Bronson says traditional resumes for people who have spent a lot of time in prison are woefully sparse.
"And yet, if you were to meet this same person, you might discover that this person is incredibly thoughtful and bright, and personable and nice, and has a wonderful personality," he states. "But you'd never, ever know that by just looking at their resume."
Recidivism rates are especially high for those who are unemployed. Nearly 80 percent of people released from prison will be rearrested within five years, and about 90 percent of that group will be unemployed at the time of their arrest.