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Felons find a future through Dayton nonprofit

Greg West speaking about his nonprofit organization Felons with a Future.
Kristin Stratman
Greg West speaking about his nonprofit organization Felons with a Future.

The Dayton nonprofit Felons with a Future is providing free resources to help returnees get jobs.

This fall, a Dayton nonprofit is offering a free course in business skills to people with criminal records. The organization Felons with a Future was founded by Greg West in the summer of 2020 to help restored citizens make a living after they’re released from prison.

West says the idea for the organization came to him when he was incarcerated himself from 2008 to 2010.

“While I was locked up I was trying to figure out, you know, one how did I get there ‘cause, you know, that wasn’t the way I was raised, and then two, what could I do, you know, to help myself and other people like me to from returning back to places like that,” he said.

West says being a business owner can help some restored citizens sidestep possible employment discrimination based on their criminal records.

“That's one of the excuses that they can ‘X’ off their own list why they can’t become productive citizens," said West, "‘Oh nobody [will] hire me because I’m a felon’, but if you own your own business you hired yourself, so…”

The twelve week course begins in late October. Participants will create individual business and marketing plans, and connect with local business mentors. The nonprofit will pay business filing expenses for those who complete the course.

Applicants can contact Greg West at Felonswithafuture.org to apply.