CARNEGIE, Pa. - It's not easy finding a good job even for the best of candidates. But throw in a stint in prison or a history of drug use and the employment opportunities virtually disappear.
Peggy Finnegan reports that Envirosafe, a small company in Carnegie, is giving people with troubled backgrounds a chance succeed.
It's a beautiful coincidence Jeramie Miller's job is lifting things as a crane operator, because his job is lifting Jeramie up.
“I couldn't stay out of trouble for nothing,” he said
A recovering heroin addict, Jeramie's been in prison, and overdosed 14 times.
“They took a risk on me, and they didn't have to,” he said
"They" are the father and son team George and Michael Vorel, owners of Envirosafe Stripping in Carnegie.
There, steel is sandblasted and painted, and lives are saved.
Ninety percent of the workers here have histories that make it tough to find a job.
“That might be a criminal history, that might be a drug history, it could be a disability,” said Mike Vorel. “Recently we've been hiring vets.”
The idea began when George saw how many doors were closed to his daughter, Alyssa, because of her background with addiction.
“There are so many of these folks, when they get out of prison and out of rehab and they are in a state of recovery,” said George Vorel. “They are great people just looking for an opportunity.”
“I left prison with the clothes on my back, shoes on my feet and a criminal record,” said Josh Inklovich.
He also had someone take chance on him.
Twelve years later, Inklovich is vice president of development and co-founder of the training program at Envirosafe.
He's very proud of the company's success stories.
“To be able to take a man who literally, less than a year ago, lived under a bridge and continuing to make those strides of coming back into society....what more can you ask for?,” he said.
The Vorels would ask only that other business owners would follow their lead.