Employers got an up-close look at a group of students who have spent years waiting for an opportunity.
For students inside a facility in Rosharon, demonstrations they provided on wood and wires could be life-changing. The students highlighted these skills to a group of employers because they’ll be ready to work in weeks.
“Things may be dark on your side right now, but it’s truly going to change,” Harold King said.
Light at the end of the tunnel because these students have waited to see it for years, and by April, they’ll be out.
“I’ve been incarcerated for nine years now,” King explained.
“I’ve been locked up almost 12 years,” Luis Hernandez said. “That’s a long time.”
Weeks before their release, the inmates showed their skills to potential employers on Wednesday to try and land a job.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice partners with the Windham School District to offer 40 vocational programs to inmates.
They’re trying to help them find jobs, too. This is why they invited employers.
“You can tell them as much as you want to, but when you actually bring them and show them what somebody is capable of, that’s really where you see that leap from I’m maybe on the fence on hiring, but this is something I’m willing to invest in,” TDCJ manager, Jessica O’Donnell explained.
A U.S. Chamber of Commerce study shows in the first four years after release, 60% of inmates won’t find work.
TDCJ wants 95% of its inmates to have jobs when they are released by the end of this decade. The agency said this is a goal that will keep more people from returning to prison.
“Anybody who’s willing to hire and give these individuals a chance so that they can prove themselves is assisting everyone in public safety,” O’Donnell said.
An open door these inmates hope is there.
“When you learn to step outside of that cave and see other things, it opens up a world of possibilities for you,” King said.
“There’s hope,” Hernandez explained. “There’s faith. You have to give yourself the chance.”
A prospect is what they need, which is why these demonstrations could be life-changing.