Job fair offers second chances to applicants with criminal records

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SOMERVILLE, Tenn. — Finding employment can be challenging for anyone, but it’s even more difficult if you’ve had a brush with the law. That’s why a family-owned business in Somerville, Tennessee decided to give potential employers a second-chance.

Memphis Contract Packaging Company as called Somerville home for nearly 20 years.

“We’re a contract manufacturer for personal care products, hair care and skin care products. We’re having a job fair today,” owner Shannon Key said.

The company is looking to fill nine positions, mostly on its expansive and busting production floor. In a county where jobs are scarce, three times as many people showed up to apply.

Tanisha Deener lives in Cordova, but says the job would be worth the drive.

“I have experience in picking, packing, material handling, assembly line, all that.”

Not every applicant has job experience like Deener, and there maybe someone with something in their past that would normally prevent them from getting employed. But owners here recognize not all offenses should prohibit someone from having a job.

“On our application there is a line that states about your background. Generally if a person does check it, we do a deeper drive. So when we say we are ‘background friendly,’ that is something we are very sensitive about,” Hiring Manager Gwendolyn Hearns said.

The company calls it their mission in the community. Memphis Contract Packaging currently employees about 200 people.

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