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Does Jo-Ann Hire Felons in 2021?

By Last update February 14, 2019
jobs for felons, company profile, Jo-Ann fabrics, Jo-Ann, Crafts and Fabrics, retail

Former felons trying to find a decent job often wonder how their record might affect their chances. Job seekers interested in fabric and craft supply retail opportunities will want to know: Does Jo-Ann hire felons? We went directly to the company to find out!

Jo-Ann has more than 865 stores in 49 states. People interested in working with fabrics and crafting supplies can find out how to get a job at Jo-Ann with a felony by reading this article. You’ll get answers to the following questions:

  • Will my felony disqualify me?
  • Does Jo-Ann hire people with misdemeanors?
  • How do I apply?
  • Does Jo-Ann do background checks?

Relaunch Pad is all about helping people move their lives forward in positive directions after incarceration. Our team is made up of people who have worked closely with former felons or who are former felons themselves. We know about the challenges you face in the job market firsthand and we’re here to make a difference.

Now let’s take a closer look to find out how to get hired at Jo-Ann with a felony record.

Does Jo-Ann hire felons?

jobs for felons, company profile, Jo-Ann fabrics, Jo-Ann, Crafts and Fabrics, retail

Official company policy for hiring felons

We contacted Jo-Ann to ask if they hire former felons, and this was the response we received:

The Company does not have a specific program to employ former felons. We conduct background checks of each applicant after an offer has been extended. We make background check determinations on a case-by-case basis, in consideration of all laws and regulations, as well as the nature of our business.

The “case-by-case” part is good because it means you’re not automatically disqualified just because you have a record.

Has Jo-Ann hired felons in the past?

The company didn’t tell us whether or not they have hired felons in the past. But any time a company is willing to make decisions on a case-by-case basis is a potential win.

Does Jo-Ann hire people with misdemeanors?

Jo-Ann is willing to consider former felons on a case-by-case basis, which usually means they wouldn’t automatically disqualify candidates with misdemeanors, either.

Their basic job application, which we examined, does not ask about a candidate’s criminal history — which is always a good sign.

Is Jo-Ann on the Ban the Box list?

If you’ve heard of the Ban the Box movement, then you know how important it is for giving people a fair chance at getting a job regardless of their background or record. Employers who agree to “ban the box” do not make candidates answer questions about whether or not they have been convicted of a crime on job applications.

A similar effort is the Fair Chance Business Pledge. Besides banning the box, companies taking this pledge “are committed to providing individuals with criminal records, including formerly incarcerated individuals, a fair chance to participate in the American economy.”

Jo-Ann has not officially joined these efforts, but their hiring practices seem to lean in that direction.

Does Jo-Ann have special programs for hiring felons?

Jo-Ann doesn’t have any specific programs focused on hiring former felons, or helping them in other ways. But most companies don’t, so don’t let that stop you!

What are the odds someone with a felony will get hired?

Average likelihood of being hired with a felony

Based on what we found, Relaunch Pad ranks your odds of getting hired at Jo-Ann with a felony record as average. The job application does not ask about a candidate’s criminal history, but they do a thorough background check. While they’ll consider felons on a case-by-case basis, we couldn’t find any instances where they have hired one. However, that doesn’t mean they haven’t!

What are some entry-level jobs?

The Jo-Ann careers page lists all positions available at each location, which includes stores, distribution centers and the company’s headquarters in Hudson, Ohio. Their main entry-level job is called Team Member, which can be full- or part-time. They usually have the following qualifications:

  • Team player who works well with others
  • Friendly, professional, helpful to customers
  • Must be 18 years or older
  • Previous experience in a customer-centric environment
  • Available to work a flexible schedule, including days, evenings, weekends and holidays
  • Preferred: High School Diploma or GED

Entry-level positions are great places to start. When you prove you’re dependable and motivated, you will have a better shot at being promoted into more advanced positions with higher compensation. An entry-level position at Jo-Ann is a chance for you to start building a great career!

How to get hired at Jo-Ann with a felony

Even though Jo-Ann is not on the official Ban the Box list, they do appear to give everyone a fair chance. So how do you get a job at Jo-Ann? You’ll want to shape your resume to match what they’re looking for.

Take these steps before you apply:

  • If you have any previous retail experience that involves helping customers, be sure to provide plenty of details about what you learned in those jobs.
  • Rework your resume to make sure it does what you need it to do. See our Complete Guide to Making an Incredible Resume (for Former Felons) to learn how.
  • Even if you don’t have previous experience with fabrics or crafting supplies, any jobs you’ve had where interacting with customers was part of your duties will help. Mention any customer service skills or experiences you gained through previous employment.

When you are invited to an interview, it’s important to put your best foot forward. Here are some interview tips for Jo-Ann:

  • The Basics: “The Team Member’s role is to create an exceptional in-store experience and provide excellent customer service by interacting and engaging with customers.” This is part of every job description at Jo-Ann, which means you need to show you’re excited to help people.
  • Appearance: Wear nice, clean clothes, but nothing too dressy or flashy. You want to be viewed the same as anyone else applying for a job. Some people will assume you’ve done time just based on your appearance, so take care to avoid looking that way.
  • Mannerisms: You want to project confidence without coming off as cocky. Maintain good eye contact and keep your answers short and relevant. Try your best not to appear overly nervous.
  • Job History: Incarceration can leave you with some large gaps in your employment history, which is something potential employers tend to notice and ask about. You can just say you went through some tough personal times, but are now back on track and moving forward in positive ways.

Does Jo-Ann do background checks?

Yes, the hiring policy they gave us includes the following:

“We conduct background checks of each applicant after an offer has been extended.”

This means that your criminal record shouldn’t even come up until they’ve offered you a job. The policy goes on to say the following:

“We make background check determinations on a case-by-case basis, in consideration of all laws and regulations, as well as the nature of our business.”

You definitely want to put some thought into what you’ll say about your felony conviction or other criminal history when it comes up. Turn your past into a positive by talking about how you’ve learned and grown from your experiences and how you’ve moved your life in positive directions.

Here is some important information you should know about background checks:

Some states don’t even look at information that is more than seven years old. If your offense was six years ago, waiting a year before you apply is a good strategy. A felony conviction from seven or more years ago shouldn’t be a factor in the following states:

  •     California
  •     Colorado*
  •     Kansas*
  •     Maryland*
  •     Massachusetts
  •     Montana
  •     Nevada
  •     New Hampshire*
  •     New York*
  •     Texas*
  •     Washington*

* sometimes certain pay or salary bracket positions require one.

Other states are good about not looking at any cases where you were found not guilty. The states that won’t include not guilty cases in a background check are the following:

  •     Alaska
  •     California
  •     Hawaii
  •     Indiana (limited)
  •     Kentucky
  •     Massachusetts
  •     Michigan
  •     New York

There are still many states that will look at your whole record, including any not guilty verdicts. Those states are:

  •     Alabama
  •     Arizona
  •     Arkansas
  •     Connecticut
  •     DC
  •     Delaware
  •     Florida
  •     Idaho
  •     Indiana (extensive)
  •     Iowa
  •     Louisiana
  •     Maine
  •     Mississippi
  •     Missouri
  •     Nebraska
  •     New Jersey
  •     North Carolina
  •     North Dakota
  •     Ohio
  •     Oregon
  •     Rhode Island
  •     South Carolina
  •     Tennessee
  •     Utah
  •     Vermont
  •     Virginia
  •     West Virginia
  •     Wisconsin
  •     Wyoming

Company ratings

What do people think of Jo-Ann as a place to work? Their page on shows an overall 2.6 out of a possible 5 stars, based on 1,500 reviews. Among those, 34% would recommend working for Jo-Ann to a friend. Why did they get this rating?

Starting pay for entry-level positions tends to be at or a little above minimum wage. Benefits are provided, but the overall rating given on for compensation and benefits is only 2.1 out of 5.

What felony convictions might have a hard time getting hired here?

Does Jo-Ann hire felons? We think they are open to it, but some felonies might hurt your chances. For example:

  • All Team Members do cashier work, which means if your felony record includes theft or other money-related charges, your chances of getting hired will go way down.
  • Because these are highly social positions requiring a lot of interactions with customers, any acts of violence in your record will be frowned upon.

Remember that your felony record shouldn’t come up in your initial application. If they offer you a job and do a background check, then you’ll need to be ready to talk about it.

Does Jo-Ann drug test?

From what we’ve seen online, Jo-Ann does not conduct any drug tests of applicants or employees at its retail stores.

Have you applied for a job or worked here? Share your experiences!

Please take this opportunity to help others who are facing the same challenges. Did the information in this article help you get a job at Jo-Ann with a felony?

Tell us any details you can, whether they’re good or bad so we can help others in the community!

Sherman is a Reentry Educator based in New Hampshire. He was convicted of several white-collar felonies and sentenced to two back-to-back years of incarceration at the local county jail, narrowly avoiding state prison. He qualified for an early release home-confinement with electronic monitoring program for his second year and made it through all those difficult days thanks to a very supportive family and church community. Because Sherman understands that not everyone who goes through the criminal justice system has those kinds of support networks in place, he does what he can to support people transitioning back into their community post-incarceration. Writing for Successful Release is just one way Sherman tries to “pay it forward” and help others get back on their feet after incarceration.