An MTC Employee Grabs the Mic and Shows How We’re Helping Men Find Jobs After Prison

Video Shot Prior to COVID-19 Pandemic

Shayla McDaniel is the warden’s administrative assistant at the Bradshaw State Jail in Henderson, Texas. Recently, an event was held that inspired her to get a camera and a microphone and document what happened.

Shayla: “Hello everyone and welcome to Bradshaw State Jail, where we are having our first annual career fair for our offenders.”

Representatives from the Henderson, TX community and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) came to the facility to provide assistance to men scheduled to be released soon.

Shayla: “Can you tell us what the purpose of this program is for our TDCJ offenders?”

Sabrina McAlister, TDCJ Re-entry Supervisor: “Yes, ma’am, it is to have them employed when they are released, or have employment already set up for them. The ones that are really wanting to apply for work, they get the job.”

Patty Dixon, TDCJ Case Manager: “We have vendors all around, from all the different counties, trying [to help them] fill out applications on site. Our goal is when they leave here today that they will have a job, or they’ll have a prospective job when they’re released.”

Shayla: “So Miss Carolyn, I want to ask you, is this your first time coming to one of these career fairs?”

Carolyn Gerr, East Texas Workforce Commission: “It is! I’m excited to be here today. So, what I’m here today to do is support individuals that are soon to be released with employment services; whether that be helping them understand what services are [available] with computer literacy, helping them understand what it takes to get back into the workforce. And I’m introducing them to what’s called our WIOA program, which is the Workers Innovation and Opportunity Act. It provides training, on-the-job training, occupational skills training, work experiences for individuals who have been unemployed or are re-entering the workforce.”

Shayla: “How do you feel this career fair is going to benefit our offenders?”

Denetra Elder, TDCJ Contract Monitor: “I think the career fair is a great opportunity for the offenders to make connections before being released. I think the greatest measure of success will be their desire to do something better.”

Shayla: “How do you feel this program is going to benefit them and better them for when they get out?”

Elbert Sherman, Bradshaw State Jail Sergeant: “Well, if they really take it seriously enough and apply themselves, it’s a good program for them. Because some of them can get out and go straight to work, instead of going back out on the street trying to do something that’s going to land them back in here.”

Alvin Roland III, Bradshaw State Jail Resident: “For the offenders, it’s going to get a lot of people a job, but for me? It’s really gonna show me something to keep me away from here. They’re helping us to try and keep us reformed and back for the world.”

Bradshaw State Jail is most grateful to the folks who came to the facility and made the career fair possible.

Shayla (to the group of participants who made it possible): “They represent the different companies that are out here, they represent TDCJ, and they represent Bradshaw, making sure that our offenders are able to get out of here, get home, and have something set up to support them and their family. Thank you, guys, for all of your help today. We really appreciate you.”