A second chance: Job fair for inmates held at Jackson prison

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JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) — Dozens of mid-Michigan employers were at the state prison complex in Jackson Tuesday for the first ever job fair for inmates.

Nicholas Pugh, who’s serving 30 months for a gun charge, is getting out of prison in eight days and he already has a job waiting for him.

 

“I’m pretty ecstatic about that coming home from prison, a new start and everything like that plus having a job lined up already takes a burden off things,” Pugh said.

 

The job offer to drive semi-trucks came at Tuesday’s job fair at the Parnall Correctional Facility’s Vocational Village.

 

The village opened last year and trains a select group of qualifying inmates in auto repair, truck driving, manufacturing, and construction.

 

Dozens of local employers came to learn more about the program and recruit workers.

 

“It’s very impressive,” said Rob Olson, general manager of Gypsum Supply Company.

 

Olson says his company has hired more than 20 former inmates and is looking to hire more.

 

“I think work ethic for one thing. Number two, I think we find people are very thankful for the opportunity we’ve been giving them and they’re very loyal,” Olson said. “It’s giving us a mission within our community to play a role to give people a second chance.”

 

A big part of Tuesday’s event was a speaker who went from a prison cell to owning his own company.

 

Titan Gilroy is a former boxer who served three years in prison for assault.

 

He spoke to prisoners about how he built a small manufacturing business into a multi-million dollar company.

 

His main message was that success after prison is more than just getting a job.

 

“I wanted to let them know that this is a hard road, that you have to have consistency and you have to have that passion to go out and actually put the work in and do a good job for whoever you’re working for so you can be successful,” Gilroy said.

 

Pugh says making plans for the future gives inmates a lot of hope for a better life.

 

“That’s a big factor in the recidivism rate, you know, not having a job,” Pugh said. “It’s definitely a relief that I have that opportunity.”

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