10TV: Push For States To "Ban The Box" On Job Applications

Where do you go for work, when your resume includes "convicted felon"?

With record-breaking prison populations, it's a reality more cities and states are starting to face.

Monday President Obama is announcing a plan to help those who've served their time re-integrate into society.

It's called "Banning the Box"- eliminating the check box on employment applications that disqualifies an applicant from the very start.

And it's already happening here in Central Ohio.

In six months on the job at Sparta Restaurant and Coffee House in Newark, Tina Cole has quickly climbed the ladder.

"To where I actually have a key to the restaurant; that's, like, huge. For him to trust this restaurant into me I can come in and I can open it. I come in and I close it for him," she said.

To understand why “Restaurant Manager” is much more than a title for her, you need to know the job she held previously:

"For 14 years I sold drugs here in Newark,” Cole said. "I ruined this community by the things I did and by the drugs I put on the street."

Her crimes earned her 6 years in the Ohio Reformatory for Women. From behind those bars, any kind of future appeared beyond her reach.

"Are my kids going to accept me? Are my family going to accept me? Am I going to be able to take care of myself? Maybe I should just get out and start selling drugs again. That's the mindset you have before you get out,” she said.

Through a re-entry program, she found employment, and a chance to show she was more than her crimes.

"I just every day wake up and know I have something to prove- to my kids, to myself, to my community," Cole said.

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