Re-Entering the Workforce

“I have never had an option in my life. Now I have options.”
–Re-entry client upon getting a security guard license

As part of its employment practice, MFY provides advice, counsel and representation to help people with past criminal records re-enter the workforce. MFY’s services help clients to:

  • clean up rap sheets, obtain Certificates of Relief from Disabilities (CRD), and address other post-conviction documentation issues
  • obtain occupational licenses, e.g. security guards, barbers, taxi drivers, etc., including representation at city and state administrative hearings
  • appeal administrative licensure denials to the New York Supreme Court
  • obtain occupational clearance from state and city agencies, e.g., for persons seeking employment as home health aides, school workers, etc.
  • advocate with private employers that summarily deny or terminate employment due to conviction history and assist with filing complaints with city and state human rights commissions

In addition to legal services to individuals, MFY partners with the Fortune Society and works closely with other re-entry organizations to train local advocates and people with past criminal records about employment rights and responsibilities, how to correct rap sheets, and how to obtain Certificates of Relief from Disabilities. Trainings are interactive and incorporate how best to work with court personnel to obtain records, how to review records for inaccuracies, how to submit documentation to private and government employers, how to present oneself at hearings, and how to plan a career path.

MFY’s re-entry work receives pro bono support from attorneys at Ropes & Gray LLP, who represent clients who have been denied licenses at administrative hearings.

MFY’s re-entry work has enabled scores of people with past criminal records to re-enter the workforce and earn living-wage salaries.

MFY’s employment work receives generous support from the Bernard F. and Alva B. Gimbel Foundation and the New York City Council.

Additional resources for information on re-entering the workforce:

New York State Correction Law Article 23-A (NYS Department of Labor)
How to Gather Evidence of Rehabilitation
Lowering Criminal Record Barriers: Certificates of Relief/Good Conduct and record sealing
Criminal Record & Employment: Protecting Yourself from Discrimination
Your New York Rap Sheet: A Guide to Getting, Understanding, and Correcting Your Criminal Record
National Hire Network



MFY Legal Services