Job Fair Prepares Diboll Offenders to Succeed in Life
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Offenders Rickey Holmes and Rafael Gilmore played the role of reporters during the first-ever job fair held at the Diboll Correctional Center in Diboll, Texas.
They opened the event, “Hi I’m Gilmore. And I’m Holmes.”
Gilmore went on to say, “We want to welcome you to Diboll’s first job/information fair. Exciting things are going to happen today, a lot of important information. Success for life is what MTC is all about. And that’s what’s going to happen today.”
Holmes added, “It’s a lot of valuable information for inmates so we can get back into society.”
During an interview with offender Rickey Holmes, Major Bernadette Rodriguez said these types of events help offenders get on the right track.
“It definitely promotes positive change and motives them to be better people and be successful in life.”
Blake Thornton, who’s the principal of education, said this job fair will help offenders learn what they need to do to be successful in society.
“Our goal was to have as many offenders as possible come through and look at what opportunities are out there when they are released.”
From banks to colleges to companies looking for employees, offenders connected with community partners to help make their transition back to society a success.
One of the employers that participated in the job fair was Goodwill of Lufkin, Texas. Shell Lockhart said their organization has created resources that ex-offenders can tap into.
“We have classes that would teach you how to do a resume. We have classes that would help you with basic computer skills. And there’s other classes in larger cities that would help as well,” said Shell Lockhart.
Outreach Coordinator for Angelina College Annie Trader talked to the inmates about opportunities in higher education,” I’m out here, meeting a lot of great people; talking about Angelina College and all the great programs we have to offer.”
Representatives from a local poultry-processing plant invited offenders who would soon be released to apply for a job with their company. And Celia Reyes says for her company, Pilgrim’s Pride, it’s not only about the jobs.
“I believe that each and every one who’s leaving this place has an opportunity to redo their lives and get on the right path. So we are a company that does offer that opportunity.”
Paul Talbott of the Texas Department of Health and Human Services said, “Our main goal is to provide Texans with benefits, so we provide things like food benefits.”
Others came to the Diboll facility to talk about resources that can help with addictions.
“We brought information in case somebody cannot afford treatment or doesn’t have insurance. and what the process is to get state funding for treatment,” said Keith Smith who is with the Alcohol & Drug Abuse Council of Deep East Texas.
Mike Capps of Commercial Bank of Texas helped several offenders with basic but important financial questions.
“Probably one of the things I get asked most frequently is how do I get credit if I don’t have credit? Well there’s got to be a starting place.”
For offender Daniel Miller, this event was vital.
“A lot of guys aren’t sure what to do when they get back out into the free world, so it’s good that these companies are here to give us a boost to know what to expect when we get out. It’s a good thing.”
Other offenders shared their deep appreciation for the facility’s efforts to help improve their lives and get them ready to do well on the outside.
“I’ve been incarcerated the past ten years and I’ve never seen anything like this. Diboll offers so many opportunities to the inmates here…to help us when we get back into society,” said Delvin Bradford.
MTC Principal Blake Thornton added, “Show them that we do care. We know that the first 18 months is very trying for offenders; to show them there are opportunities not only for school but for vocational, trades.”