LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Goodwill held its first expungement clinic to help those trying to recover from past run-ins with the law.
Hundreds attended the clinic for a step-by-step guide on the expungement process, and received some information on workforce training.
"Your past follows you," participant Barbara Plappert said. "It will no longer follow us, so we have something to look forward to."
Plappert is a cosmetologist and wants to grow her career, but has found it difficult to do so.
"This is an opportunity that they're giving us convicted felons to move forward and scratch our record and start a new life," Plappert said. "Give us a second chance to find new jobs and support our families."
Goodwill Industries of Kentucky has partnered with the Kentucky Department of Corrections to walk people through the process, offering expungement court forms, free background checks, legal assistance, and other community resources.
Mayor Greg Fischer stopped by to speak with the participants. He said the event inspires hope, which is non-existent for many who come forward and want to right their past wrongs.
"So many folks that have a record feel helpless," Fischer said. "They don't think they're going to have a positive future. There's so many barriers in their way to getting a good job; they feel like they don't have self worth. So, when an expungement program comes along like this and says, 'we will help you get through this', it's a huge deal."
Not only does this make the process more affordable, helping participants find out if they qualify to have their records cleared for no cost, it also exposed them to Goodwill's Soft Skills Academy.
The Academy is a series of free classes that teach skills that employers seek in candidates. After completing skills classes, participants will earn Work Ready Certificates and be paired with career coaches who will prepare them for and help them find employment.