Former Windham student becomes successful electrician

TDCJ's offender newspaper, The ECHO, had the opportunity to interview ex-offender Garrett Stanley, who tells a wonderful story of success in life after incarceration. His story documents hard work, motivation and a desire to do well in life.

Former Windham student becomes successful electrician.ECHO: Describe your life before prison.

GS: I did time in the Texas Youth Commission (TYC) from the ages of 14 to 16. I received my GED there at TYC. By the time I was 17 years old I was into drinking and drugs and in TDCJ on a 17-year sentence.

ECHO: Describe your prison educational experience.

GS: I did 12 years on a 17 year sentence from 1994-2006. I was on Luther, Torres and Hughes units during that time.

I attended and completed the electrical trades classes offered by the Windham School District (WSD). I was able to work for the unit maintenance department as an electrician for four years where I obtained invaluable experience on a day-to-day basis at work. I also volunteered and worked as a teacher's aide in the electrical trades classes for one and one-half years.

ECHO: Do you have any special comments about the WSD instructors you had for the courses?

GS: They were all great. They showed patience and kindness. They were very helpful. They taught us even when some of us were unteachable.

ECHO: Describe your life after release in 2006.

GS: At that time, I was assisted by Project RIO. I bought tools. I saw an advertisement in the newspaper, place by an electrical union. I answered the ad. They gave me a skills evaluation test and I scored very well due to the WSD classes and my experience at the Luther Unit. I have now been working for the same contractor for seven years.

ECHO: Describe your current position.

GS: I am a journey man electrician working at commercial and industrial sites, including power plants and water treatment plants.

ECHO: Explain how you think WSD made an impact on your life after TDCJ.

GS: I now have a good job and a good career due to the classes and skills learned through the WSD Electrical Trades program. I give all the credit to WSD such that I can make an honest living. I am a citizen of society, pay taxes and no one can take these things from me.

ECHO: What would be your advice to current offenders?

GS: Educate yourself for your future. Take advantage of every avenue of education available for you. Be hungry for knowledge. Dedicate your time toward an education and skills that can provide a career once released.

 

Reprinted from The ECHO.

 

Other Success Stories that may interest you:

Garrett Stanley: Journeyman electrician credits WSD vocational training for chance to re-wire life, enjoy success and freedom - The jobs skills and talents that helped turn his life around came as a result of correctional education in TDCJ. Stanley fortunately fell under the guidance of skilled vocational instructors during his years at the Luther Unit in Navasota; education helped him re-direct his path.

Welding Success Story - "I'm thankful for the welding program I was allowed to take while locked up".

WSD Success Story:  Safety manager, former offender returns to prison to encourage job-readiness - "I have been out of prison for five years, and it makes it a very emotional day to come back: the sights, the smells and the tattoos," Johnathan Granados tells offenders during his visit to a Texas prison facility. Granados was invited to share information about his experience and employment preparation at a Windham School District (WSD) Career Expo. Since his release, Granados has been working with Yantis, a San Antonio construction and land company, and he is one of several businessmen and women participating in a Career Expo at Dominguez State Jail.

Experience, education, training with WSD inspire Stanley to share success with offenders - "I volunteer because the life I have today is beyond the wildest dreams I ever imagined possible," says Garrett Stanley, recipient of a 2016 Governor’s Criminal Justice Volunteer Service Award.

Nate Williamson showing offenders the path to self-improvement - "Life is serious. Freedom is serious. Employment after incarceration is serious. Education is the thread that will enable offenders to tie all of this together," said former Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) offender Nate Williamson.

Success Stories

Success Story IconNEW - I learned to change my perspective - "It’s the education I learned in Cognitive Intervention class that changed me. I learned to change my perspective."

Success Story IconRole Model - Success Story -
"I talk to them about how important education is and how hard I'm trying to prove that to them."

Success Story IconNEW - Tools to change my own life - "What can I say about Autobrakes? I guess I need to start by saying it's one of the best classes I have ever taken!"

Success Story IconNEW - I’m so grateful I took welding -
"I’m so grateful I took welding; I’ve come so far in my career because the things I was taught in that program".

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WSD in Images

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An offender at the Polunsky Unit prepares for graduation after earning his GED through the Windham School District.
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