Businessman extends jobs to parolees

Willie Ross is offering jobs to parolees. He has nine positions open. / Jessica Fairley

One Albany businessman is looking for a specific group of employees to work at his new store.

Willie Ross wants to boost the economy by providing jobs for those who others refuse to give a second chance.

He's hoping to fill his new store, "It's About Time Vegetables and More", with parolees looking for a break.

Fredrick Barnes is his first hire.

"If you're willing to better yourself then I feel like you're in the right place," said Frederick Barnes, Parolee.

Barnes showed Willie Ross just how hard it is to succeed after life behind bars.

"He didn't want to go out and rob nobody. He would rather work. I sit down and talked with him and I found out that nobody would hire him," said Willie Ross, Business Owner.

Barnes was given a minimum wage job and then Willie Ross extended to the offer to nine others who are out on parole.

Friday morning, he says, there were hundreds of people outside his door trying to take one of those few job positions.

Those who couldn't meet him face to face left notes behind with their contact information.

"I'm giving back to the community what I took out the community because I used to be rough too and I understand the streets," said Willie Ross.

The marine veteran says the dream for "It's About Time Vegetables and More" came from his father, who passed away. Now that the doors are opening, he says his parents would be proud to see he's using his blessing to bless others.

"We're going to try something out to help everybody. Not just my business but we're asking all the business owners to please give these people a chance to work and you that everybody deserves a second chance," said Ross.

The business owner will hold job interviews at his business located at 313 W. Broad Avenue Monday morning from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. in the afternoon.

He's looking for to fill the position of cashier and several other jobs.

Ross is also calling for other business owners to come out and see if they can use any other of the people who show up Monday morning.

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