IN2WORK program graduates hope to turn their lives around

Published: Jul. 26, 2022 at 6:59 PM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - Inmates of the Wichita County Jail are looking forward to turning their lives around on the outside.

Food service giant Aramark and Wichita County held a graduation ceremony on Tuesday for inmates who successfully completed their IN2WORK program. It’s a program designed to teach applicants job-ready food service skills while they’re behind bars.

This program provides re-entry support through education and employment as graduates transition back into the workforce and community.

”I ain’t never graduated anything in my life until I came to this jail, so it its actually a blessing to be here,” Joshua Brown, a graduate of IN2WORK, said.

The IN2WORK program in Wichita County teaches inmates valuable skills. Directors were surprised at what they’ve taken away from the program as well.

“It’s really beneficial, I think I learned more than they did,” Le Thurman, Food Service Director of the Wichita County Jail, said. “Just the challenge that they gave to me and their excitement and their pride that they took in the class, I appreciate all their hard work.”

Completing IN2WORK also makes inmates and their families eligible for scholarships.

“It’s like a warm blanket. It’s a safety net, you know, for when you get out so that way you ain’t going back to the streets hustling.” Brown said, “You got a good safety net, you know, you can go work. They’re granting you scholarships. They’re granting your kids scholarships, you know, it’s just something good to do.”

The skills that inmates gain from the program put them on a stronger footing to re-enter the workforce, helping them assimilate back into the community.

“I’m glad, I actually did something with it because just sitting in here not doing anything, instead you can actually do something and prove to everybody you are trying to better yourself,” JT Compton, a graduate of IN2WORK, said.

Aramark hired 30 graduates alone in 2021, removing the stress of trying to find a job and income once released.

“Well, it was a great opportunity for a person to get out and have a second chance at running without having this wave of wondering if you’re going to get a job and Aramark already has that job waiting on you so it’s a great opportunity,” Desmon Harvey, a graduate of IN2WORK, said.

Since the start of the program, IN2WORK has lowered the tendency rates of convicted criminals to re-offend by 30%.

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