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Building Blocks Trades Training Program Offers 2nd Chance For Job Hunters With Felony Convictions

Publication Date: 
April 06, 2014
Daily Gazette
Deborah M. Todd

A study by Professor Joan Petersilia on education level of state and federal prisoners is cited in this Daily Gazette article by Deborah M. Todd. 

Months out of jail and several weeks into the Trade Institute of Pittsburgh’s masonry training program, Ryan Kelley and Scott Snyder aren’t making any excuses.

Kelley’s decision to drive with a suspended license and the crash that seriously injured at least one person are burdens to be carried on his conscience and possibly his criminal record for the rest of his life. The aggravated assault, weapons and vandalism charges staining Snyder’s record are accepted repercussions of his own decisions.


Beyond the hurdles of criminal background checks and felon-screening job applications, many of the formerly incarcerated had fallen behind peers in several demographic measures even before they went to jail. A 2005 study by University of California professor Joan Petersilia found 40 percent of state and federal prisoners lacked a high school diploma or GED, nearly one-third had a physical or mental disability and more than half reported using drugs during the month they were arrested.