Second Chances Job Fair bringing new opportunities

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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - "After I experimented with meth, it just went all downhill from there," said Lauren Stanley, a recovering drug addict.

Stanley says life has been hard.

"I had got a job but I started isolating because I left my church home and everything so that's when I had a relapse," said Stanley.

But Wednesday at the Second Chances Job Fair things started to get a little easier for Stanley.

"I seen that there's just, not even just the job fair, just like outreach counseling services and so far everybody I've met has been really nice and really helpful," said Stanley.

"Sometimes people have to learn the hard way, but if they do learn and they want to turn their life around, sometimes they're the best workers," said President of the Bay County League of Women Voters and co-host of the event, Cecile Scoon.

This job fair is open to the public, but it takes a special interest in getting convicted felons and drug addicts back in the workforce.

"We want to make sure that groups of people that before might've had doors shut on them, that we welcome them back into civic society," said Scoon.

Some employers looking to hire know the struggle.

"I'm actually a recovering addict, so I know what that is to be down that road," said Pacesetter Employer, Dayna Jones-Shirley.

Jones-Shirley, who is looking to hire for Pacesetter, says she knows the value a job can give someone.

"To have a chance to have a good job and to have... it gives you self worth, and people need that," said Jones-Shirley.

Jones-Shirley wants to let people know there are employers wanting to hire you, despite your past.

"There are jobs out there, there are people out there that will hire you and will put you to work and will be happy to have you come to work," said Jones-Shirley.

"I think everything's gonna work out. You just gotta walk through the fire to get to the other side," said Stanley.

If you still need employment opportunities, the Community Resource Center in the Bay County Library is also working to connect people with jobs.