BEL AIR — Harford County’s Second Chance Job and Resource Fair offers life-changing opportunities for those who have had past criminal charges or experienced incarceration. This year’s fair for job seekers ages 18 and up will be held from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26, at The EPICENTER, 1918 Pulaski Highway, Edgewood. The fair helps match employers and resources with individuals who are committed to rebuilding their lives. Attendees should bring a resume and dress for success.
More than 20 companies will be represented, offering a variety of full- and part-time employment opportunities, including custodial, HVAC, clerical, food service, retail, mechanical and warehousing positions. In addition, 28 community agencies will be on site to offer resources including housing, job training, bonding, expungement services and transportation support.
This award-winning event was developed by Harford County government, in partnership with Susquehanna Workforce Network, the Harford County Sheriff’s Office, the Harford County Health Department, the Harford County Bar Foundation, Parole and Probation and other local organizations, to strengthen families and give individuals who have made mistakes a second chance. Last year, more than 200 participants attended the inaugural fair, which won a 2019 award for innovation from the National Association of Counties.
The following organizations will be on hand to offer resources and support.
• The Harford County Bar Foundation will provide free expungement services for up to two charges per individual. Registration is required in advance by visiting harfordcountymd.gov/SecondChance.
• Maryland Legal Aid will provide free criminal record expungement and legal counseling for civil cases including child custody and child support, housing, public benefits, bankruptcy and debt collection.
• Project SEEK is a Harford County program that offers support, case management, substance abuse prevention and mental health resources for children who are impacted by parental incarceration.
• The Harford County Community Mediation Program offers free, voluntary, neutral and confidential mediations to individuals involved in a dispute. Mediation can be used for landlord/tenant issues or family reunification.
• The United States Attorney’s Office will provide its statewide Re-entry Resource Guide. An online version is available at justice.gov/usao-md.
Employment Services and Bonding:
• Susquehanna Workforce Network (SWN) will share information about services available at its workforce centers in Havre de Grace, Bel Air and Elkton. Services include job searching, interview preparation, resume assistance, occupational training and workshops to assist job seekers.
• SWN can also help job seekers apply for the Federal Bonding Program, which provides insurance policies for businesses that protect against employee theft or dishonesty. The bonds provide six months of coverage ranging from $5,000 to $25,000, are available at no cost to the job applicant or the employer, and require no paperwork on the part of the employer. To learn more about becoming federally bonded, visit swnetwork.org or contact Clara Henry, work force center coordinator at Swan Creek, at 410-272-5400.
Job Training, Education and Employment Readiness Services:
• Power52 Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit foundation dedicated to training and employing at-risk individuals in the clean-energy industry. Power52 Energy Institute, the first clean-energy career school approved by the Maryland Higher Education Commission, offers a free 11-week training and certificate program. There is no cost to enroll.
• Catholic Charities, Senior Service America (age 55+) and the EPICENTER have additional opportunities for attendees to learn about employment readiness, job training and counseling.
• Harford Community College will offer information and assistance on college enrollment and adult literacy programs.
Housing, Transportation and Food Assistance:
• Harford County Community Action Agency provides housing, food, energy/heating and budget assistance to families experiencing financial hardships. They will offer: Maryland Energy Assistance programs, homeless prevention services, community food pantry/food bank referrals, financial services programs, case management, resume design and GED Plus enrollment.
• Harford County Office of Community and Economic Development will offer information on housing vouchers and the first-time homebuyer program.
• Harford Transit LINK will provide bus schedules and fare information along with details on the county’s Rideshare, Route Shout2.0 app and Guaranteed Ride Home programs.
• Found in Faith Ministries provides furniture and home goods at no cost to individuals transitioning to stable housing and will provide applications for assistance.
• The Maryland Food Bank will be available with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) applications.
Additional resources include:
• Recovery resources: New Day Wellness & Recovery, STEPS Recovery Resources Inc., WIN Family Health and Maryland Recovery will provide information on peer recovery coaches, case management, substance abuse resources and treatment options.
• Veterans’ agencies: The Maryland Department of Labor and the Maryland Center for Veterans Education & Training will provide veteran-specific housing information and employment services.
• The Harford County Health Department will print free birth certificates for up to 35 jobseekers. Individuals born in Maryland that have a valid photo ID are eligible. Acceptable forms of identification are a driver license, state-issued photo identification card or a passport. Birth certificates will be printed and issued on site. Also, healthcare providers will offer tobacco education and medical assistance through Maryland Health Connection.
• Upper Chesapeake Medical Center will provide information and schedule screenings for breast cancer (ages 40 to 64) and cervical cancer (ages 21 to 64) to uninsured and underinsured women who meet eligible criteria.
• Maryland Insurance Administration will provide guidance on a variety of insurance options.
More information and registration for the Second Chance Job and Resource Fair is available at harfordcountymd.gov/ SecondChance or by contacting Krit Heim at 410-638-3389 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Walk-ins are welcome on the day of the fair.