Because of this, Blakeman, a 2017 alumnus of his alma mater, created a web-based marketplace for companies to connect with people who have a criminal history and are now seeking work.
Blakeman said he started HonestJobs in October 2018 because he realized if it was that hard for him to find a job years after being released, it would be even harder for people coming straight out of jail or prison.
“I had been to prison, and people are just scared of the idea of hiring that,” Blakeman said.
Blakeman grew up in North Central Florida and dropped out of high school when he was 16 due to a drug addiction. He started selling drugs to make a living, and eventually became homeless.
He was arrested in Georgia in 2010 and sentenced to 14 months in prison for trafficking and distributing prescription drugs, shoplifting and theft. After being released, he moved to Ohio for a fresh start.
“All I wanted to do really was just be different,” Blakeman said. “I wanted to get my life back on track and get an education and get a job and change my life.”
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