The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

TR seminar helps ex-cons

By Terrance Gilbert/reporter

Young men were offered a helping hand during the Men of Color Mentoring program’s Oct. 9 seminar for ex-offenders re-entering the workforce.

“Many of us make mistakes. Some of us get caught, and some of us don’t,” said moderator Major Attaway of the Fort Worth Metropolitan Black Chamber of Commerce. “My purpose here today is to assist any of you or anyone you know by providing both important resources and information to make re-entry into the workplace successful.”

Attendees received a regional list of companies that often work with individuals with criminal convictions that might make attaining employment difficult.

“It’s more about how you look at your past, but, more importantly, what you want from your future,” said panelist Edward Griffin from Texas Re-entry Services. “I was incarcerated for 20 years. I knew it would be difficult, but I made a decision to better myself by helping others.”

Griffin said Texas Re-entry Services provides help to people recently released from incarceration.

“From assisting with attaining vital documents to transportation to interviewing skills, we do it all,” he said. “I even learned Spanish to assist with translating for clients.”

Barell Morgan II of Mental Health Mental Retardation of Tarrant County said one of the most important factors in re-entering the workforce is self-image.

“You have to first want to better your situation. Then you have to be willing to put forth the effort to work,” he said. “I personally don’t have a criminal record. However, once I applied for a position with a major hotel chain who would typically not hire someone with an assault charge.”

Morgan said he researched to see how difficult it would be to get an interview so he knew firsthand how to guide clients. 

“When I was granted the interview, the lady told me, because of my presentation, she was willing to give me a chance,” he said.

Looking good and feeling good are the first steps, Morgan said. But being honest and addressing the past helps people leave it in the past.

“Many of our students are in need of this information, if not for them but for someone they might know,” said Freddie Sandifer, Men of Color coordinator. “In providing this information from individuals from our own community, students will be able to share the information with others, which makes us further accomplish our mission.”

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