There's a company in Walker's Point making it their mission to help former felons make a real change in their lives. Community Warehouse is to giving the "un-hirable" a chance to find good jobs. Founders of the non-profit wanted to make a real change in Milwaukee's neighborhoods, and for them, it starts by helping more people find work. "Some have come out of incarceration, some are in recovery from drug and alcohol," says volunteer Sarah Nielsen. "We have big dreams for Community Warehouse. We want to restore dignity to those that want to work and can't find a job."
Jacob Maclin, a three-time felon, came to Community Warehouse seven years ago, in the back seat of a police car, driven by the officer that had busted him in his own neighborhood. Community Warehouse hired him, mentored him and gave him the new start he was looking for. He's now store manager. "It was the first real world experience where I had to interact face-to-face with customers," says Maclin. "You've got individuals coming from an environment where they have no options but to go back to what they were doing because no one is giving them other opportunities." Maclin says working at Community Warehouse is more than just a job, and the spiritual guidance also offered through his employer has helped him turn his life around. "If I put my best foot forward I will be blessed along the way," he says. "Everyday should be a learning experience, no matter how great or small." Maclin is now mentoring other young employees at Community Warehouse.
Although Kevin White has been employed at Community Warehouse for only a few months, he's already gaining real world skills and looking forward to the future. "You can get your shipping and receiving skills here, forklift skills, customer service skills," White explains. "Most of us are felons and they give us an opportunity to start over again and be able to provide for our family." When I asked White what his "dream job" was, he smiles and says "I'd like to be a mentor, like a guidance counselor. There's a lot of lost kids out there that need help." He hopes the work he does through Community Warehouse will help him achieve those goals.