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Job Fair Gives Ex-Offenders a Fresh Start at Redemption

“We have individuals we are endeavoring to prevent from ending up in prison and instead help them secure employment. It is a far more efficient utilization of our taxpayers’ funds to avoid incarcerating people.”

SAN ANTONIO — The Bexar County 2nd Chance Job Fair offers a fresh start to certain individuals by aiding those with criminal records in finding employment opportunities and support services.

Since 2015, this job fair has been a recurring event in the heart of the city’s eastside community.

Tommy “TC” Calvert Sr. emphasized the significance of the way one presents themselves during job interviews, stating, “The manner in which you shake hands can significantly impact your job prospects.”

As hundreds of job seekers entered the Freeman Coliseum Expo Hall, they were met with friendly handshakes and words of encouragement.

“Providing positive reinforcement is crucial. Are you looking forward to today?” inquired Calvert Sr.

As the President of the non-profit organization, The Neighborhoods First Alliance, Calvert Sr. assumes the role of the official greeter at the 2nd Chance Job Fair.

Reflecting on the struggles faced by some attendees, Calvert Sr. acknowledged, “Many of them endure constant hardships, whether from family members or other employers, surrounded by negativity.”

Established in 2015 by Tommy “TC” Calvert Sr.’s son, Bexar County Precinct 4 Commissioner Tommy Calvert Jr., the fair aims to steer individuals away from incarceration and towards gainful employment, aligning with a more beneficial use of taxpayer money.

Commissioner Calvert highlighted the shift in attitude towards hiring formerly incarcerated individuals, noting an increase from 240 to over 1,000 accommodating businesses since his tenure began.

“We have fostered a culture of acceptance, compassion, and assisting individuals in rebuilding their lives,” expressed Commissioner Calvert.

In collaboration with the Bexar County Re-Entry Center, the fair not only facilitates job placements but also offers counseling and support in areas such as resume development.

Describing the job fair as a form of economic nurturing, Commissioner Calvert advocated for community involvement in public projects.

“I strongly believe that when the county undertakes projects in your community, we should prioritize hiring from within the neighborhood,” Commissioner Calvert stated.

Continuing the legacy of community service that his father has upheld for over five decades, Calvert Sr. radiates warmth and optimism.

“Madam, are you excited to be here? Your positive demeanor and bright smile ensure you will secure a job. Amen,” Calvert Sr. encouraged.

The Bexar County Re-Entry Center extends its services year-round, offering ongoing support to individuals seeking to reintegrate into society.