Court staff holds job and resource fair for probation clients

CLEVELAND - For the thousands of people who are currently on probation or have been in the past, getting a job, reinstating a driver’s license, expunging a criminal record or getting a GED can be difficult. However, for four hours on the first floor of the justice center Friday, all of those services were in one place.

Officials from the probation departments at Cleveland Municipal Court and Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas organized a job and resource fair for people on probation. Representatives from several area employers were on hand to answer questions and accept resumes. There was also information regarding criminal record expungements, GED programs and job training.

“We know that if people are working… the chances of them getting in trouble in the future is greatly reduced,” said Michael Caso, the chief social worker for the court of common pleas. “It’s about putting people’s lives back into perspective and increasing confidence. Paychecks sure help. It helps the individual on probation as well as the family.”

Roughly two dozen vendors signed up for the event. Among the organizations that attended were the Cleveland Catholic Charities, United Labor Agencies, Custom Products Corporation, The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland, the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles, and The Council for Economic Opportunities in Greater Cleveland.

“If we can help these individuals find employment -- steady employment -- and help them with their education, they are less likely to recidivate,” Spencer Bellamy, an education and employment specialist at Cleveland Municipal Court.

Among those that attended was Marquis McCruter. He attended the job fair at the advice of his probation officer.

McCruter said he’s glad he followed that advice.

“I came down here to apply for various things that may get me back into the community and give me a second chance,” McCruter said. “It changed my life and put me on a better path. I believe it’s very helpful. The things I learned in there, I didn’t have the knowledge before. We’re all human, sometimes we make mistakes.”

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