(Cleveland) - One of the biggest obstacles ex-convicts face is getting a job after spending time in prison. Even though they have paid their debt to society, employers are sometimes apprehensive about hiring them.

Now there's a new tool to help both the ex-offender and the employer. The State of Ohio is issuing Certificates of Achievement, and Certificates of Qualification for Employment.

The certificates absolve the employer of any liability if the former offender does something illegal on the job. The employer cannot be sued for negligent hiring.

Lisa Smith, of Community Re-Entry Inc. of Cleveland says the certificates make it easier for employers to take a chance on an ex-con that wants to return to being productive member of society.

Inmates currently incarcerated can apply for the Achievement Certificate through the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correct.

Former inmates who have not be under supervision for at least a year can apply for the Qualification of Employment Certificate through the local courts. Applications can found online at www.drc.state.oh.us

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