The Secret Life Sentence of Being a Felon | Harley Blakeman | TEDxOhioStateUniversity



The perception and harmful consequence of the word felon in the workplace, told from a felon himself. Just three weeks after Harley Blakeman’s 18th birthday he was arrested for Drug Trafficking and sentenced to a year in prison in Georgia. After graduating from The Ohio State Universities Fisher College of Business with honors in 2017, He realized how incredibly hard it was to find employers who were willing to overlook a felony conviction from 5 years prior. Since that time, He has set out on a mission to get 1,000 employers to adopt more background-friendly hiring practices.

Blakeman is now an Author and Social Entrepreneur with a focus on reducing recidivism rates in America. He is the Founder of HonestJobs.co, a Fair-Chance online job board that is helping employers fill more job openings in a tight labor market while doing good for the community. Through his company and his book, Grit: How to get a job and build a career with a criminal record, he has helped thousands of formerly incarcerated job candidates find gainful employment. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

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36 thoughts on “The Secret Life Sentence of Being a Felon | Harley Blakeman | TEDxOhioStateUniversity”

  1. kingjames5049 says:

    I pray that this becomes a billion dollar business. He would be one rich person that would care for the little people.

  2. Freedom Channel says:

    Several mistakes made in my youth have cost me dearly I'm now in my 40s haven't even had a traffic ticket the last two decades and squeaky clean but I've endured years of being denied jobs after background checks. Not to mention I permanently lost my second amendment rights to protect my family. I can't even legally own a Taser. I'm not complaining I just know there's a lot of people in this country in the same situation I hope we can come together and fix it at some point. This country has so many laws you can't even step outside without breaking one even if you cross the street inappropriately you're asking for trouble… It's sickening I definitely don't feel like we live in a free country.

  3. Jonathan Dale says:

    This hit home.. Im an ex felon from 26 years ago and have a extremely hard time to find work. Whats even worse what work i had back then i was a addict. Now that I've been clean for years i can't even get work, not even in a booming economy, not even in a bottom-of-the-barrel jobs. I understand why ex cons resort back to drug dealing and stealing.. Being an ex-con of ANY kind of felon is a life sentence no matter what anyone tells you. Trust me I know.

  4. Strider says:

    Laws on felons need to change. We DESERVE 2nd chances. Especially for those of us who made a mistake early on and those of us who have been on the straight and narrow since.

  5. Plush Man says:

    I’m a white collar felon with a degree. I can’t get a job. I’m thinking about just killing myself

  6. T Hug says:

    Doesnt matter if your willing to work. If your a felon. Your done. It seems…

  7. w patrick b says:

    I hear it time and time again: "How can people move on if you won't let them?" I genuinely believe it is the individual's responsibility to keep trying as hard as they can. But, that being said, it never ceases to disgust me the number of people who proclaim to be followers of a faith with forgiveness and redemption at it's very core, who seem completely oblivious to their own hypocrisy when it comes to applying that to anyone with any kind of negative history. America became a great nation because of people searching for second chances. Our deterioration is, in large part, because we've forgotten that.

  8. benny robinson says:

    dude snitched by the way

  9. New Hope says:

    I just got caught for stealing from Walmart it was a class d felony this is my first offense but I haven't went to court for it yet I'm 18 pretty much I'm asking is my life over

  10. Fractal Reptillian says:

    1 job in 5 years ….got fired after missing work too much to go to mandatory probation meetings and classes…

    I paid my debt to society and they treat me like a pariah

  11. Tony Soprano says:

    That's a life sentence for anyone else

  12. noldo says:

    you don't even have to be a convicted felon to deal with these issues

  13. bronxmosthated1 says:

    youtube why are felonies lifetime

  14. Joseph Koons says:

    The best decision I ever made was going to college after incarceration. With my college degree I was able to get an apprentice electrician job . After several years of being an apprentice I took my journeyman test and passed . After that I took my masters and passed . It’s all about the little steps and being patient. It took 13 years to get where I’m at now. Don’t give up on yourself and just keep filling out applications or go to school. I never thought it was possible but on January 19th 2021my firearms rights were restored in the state of Minnesota. Anything is possible. I believe in you .

  15. Marcus Hicks says:

    Dealing with this is going to be the reason I kill myself

  16. Michael says:

    Drug trafficking? Poor baby. Looks like a white collar boy to me.

  17. Matthew Thomas says:

    It gets better everyone, I caught a class B felony when I was 18, did 4 in prison, 4 on parole. I learned to box, got my GED, got in the best shape of my life, and grew up. I wish it wasn't on my record anymore, it doesn't effect me nowhere near as bad, it's been 14 years. After so long, it shouldn't continue to be on your record, I believe that strongly. If you've done better, don't get in trouble for years, why's it still get used against you? Where's the incentive to do better?

  18. rairai says:

    The USA has a throw away mentality , welcome to the land of broken toys ..if you are a felon or over 50 "they". Have no use for you …the coming troubles will reset a lot of things , we'll see how it goes ……

  19. Chris Gonzalez says:

    I currently have 5 tickets and I’m just 18 and I feel like I’m a felon and not gonna make it in life but seeing this Ted talk gave me some type of motivation.

  20. C G says:

    I dont cry a lot. But this hit some spots close to home in my life. Thank you.

  21. Ronald Williams says:

    wow just a 10 month sentence for all that.People like myself get 5 to 10 years for the exact amount of stuff.and he gets to be on the speaking circuit. it’s big news because he’s of a certain type

  22. geralld gur says:

    Thanks to cyberhackanswers @ gmail . com , I finally got my criminal records expunged for real, cyberhackanswers is the real deal, he got three felonies and one other misdemeanor charges cleared off my background and criminal records I’m grateful. you can contact him by sending him an email to cyberhackanswers @ gmail . com or send him a whatsapp message to +1 626 578 5544 or send him a dm on instagram @blonde_hacker_ , thank me later

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  23. geralld gur says:

    Thanks to cyberhackanswers @ gmail . com , I finally got my criminal records expunged for real, cyberhackanswers is the real deal, he got three felonies and one other misdemeanor charges cleared off my background and criminal records I’m grateful. you can contact him by sending him an email to cyberhackanswers @ gmail . com or send him a whatsapp message to +1 626 578 5544 or send him a dm on instagram @blonde_hacker_ , thank me later

    '];[.'];[.'];[.;

  24. geralld gur says:

    Thanks to cyberhackanswers @ gmail . com , I finally got my criminal records expunged for real, cyberhackanswers is the real deal, he got three felonies and one other misdemeanor charges cleared off my background and criminal records I’m grateful. you can contact him by sending him an email to cyberhackanswers @ gmail . com or send him a whatsapp message to +1 626 578 5544 or send him a dm on instagram @blonde_hacker_ , thank me later

    '];.';

  25. Wayne D says:

    I know EXACTLY what you mean by this is a life sentence. I have a wack conviction for drinking and driving, here in Canada it doesn't matter what you offense is, we're all grouped together as one and the same and denied an equal opportunity for a humane life.

  26. Ron Gillespie says:

    You’ve got that right. A theft of $10,000 non-violent non-drug related got me one year probation, 5000 in restitution, and a life sentence of being discriminated against for things like housing. Apartments will not touch you even though I make over 80 K per year. It needs to change

  27. darenzo182 says:

    To be honest, I’m envious of @Hackservicetech1 on IG good work . But I’m so happy to be privileged to work with you guys

  28. alvaro alexis ortega lopez says:

    I'll never forget the great effort of @Hackservicetech1 on IG , for keeping up to his  promise, they are awesome, such a genius

  29. Doily Simpkin says:

    No sympathy. If you can't handle the consequences, don't commit the crime. Period.

  30. Sergio Espinoza says:

    Coming out was hard and I struggled finding purpose but I started my own business. A landscape business. Make over 100,000 and hire struggling kids and felons.

  31. Sergio Espinoza says:

    And definitely not to try and make this a race thing but it’s a lot easier to look like a felon gone good if you’re white. It is even harder when your skin or your last name is not white.

  32. shawn michael says:

    My felony is over 30 years old for a controlled substance violation the problem is when they pull your record they look at this like you just committed this 2 weeks ago they don't even consider multiple decades have passed with a clean record.

  33. ZIDEL says:

    I have a misdemeanor from 12 years ago and no one will hire me, after getting rejected hundreds of times you just sit there and cry because theirs no hope. Makes me truly sad. Feel like it's the same as being a felon

  34. Phil Black says:

    Want to be oppressed? Become a felon. Limited jobs, limited housing. Also lose your right to defend yourself. Some places lose your right to vote. Why are more ppl not talking about this?

  35. madmax estate says:

    He said $35 for a apartment application try 150-200$ here in Texas

  36. snicklefritz669 says:

    Be careful with those self help people nd religion. It WILL change who you are if your very GULLIBLE.

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