Isaac White: ‘Life was waiting for me!’

Business owner credits vocational classes as foundation for success after release from prison

Isaac White


“I was 18 years old, convicted of aggravated robbery with a weapon, and knowing I would possibly be in prison until I was 26.  I knew I had to make plans for the rest of my life.  I knew after I was released, I had to get out and make a living.  Life was waiting for me,” remembers Isaac White, a former offender who served time in three facilities in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ).  Today White is a free citizen and president and owner of his own successful electrical contracting company based in Waller, Texas.  The company has been in business since September 2013, serving Waller, Washington, Grimes, Austin and Harris counties.  White employs three men and says last year’s sales revenue was about $300,000.


“We provide residential homeowners, general contractors and commercial business owners with emergency service, repair work, and new construction and remodeling work.   We do honest, good work with integrity, and we get a lot of referrals from clients,” he says. “We do all things electrical.”


White credits the electrical and plumbing training he learned in prison from Windham School District as the foundation of his success.


“Other offenders told me about educational opportunities available through Windham.  I knew I needed a trade that would provide me with a solid job to get on with life.  I enrolled in a six-month WSD plumbing class at the Clemens Unit and graduated.  Then I received a two-year set off and couldn’t go home.  I decided to enroll in another vocational class to add to my skills; I was planning for my release, whenever it would be. I graduated from the electrical program at the Luther Unit in 1998. I had found my Windham teachers were real people, and they taught their subject areas really well.  They gave me hope for a future career with actual skills, and after 16 years in the trade, I have done well. ”


Following his release in 1999, White hired on for a year with a swimming pool contractor and soon made his move into the electrical field. He also went to the Independent Electrical Contractors Association to attend a four-year apprenticeship program.  


“When I graduated, I took a test to acquire a Journeyman Electrical License and later pursued a Master Electrical License,” he says. “I went to school for four years to learn all I could.  Knowledge is power and money!”


Along with financial rewards, White enjoys doing his job well and balancing it with family life, which includes a wife and teenage son.


“I love to see the excitement and relief on my customers’ faces when their job is fixed properly and in a timely manner,” he says, “but the most challenging part of what I do these days is balancing everything in my life.  I make sure I keep appointments with clients, I make sure I have time with family, and I make sure I keep my reputation at its best for the future of my company.”


White encourages current offenders to use their time to prepare for success after release:  “Life is waiting for you!” he says.  “Get ready for that day when you walk out those doors.  Learn a trade and get your GED and education. And when you get settled and are doing well for yourself, tell someone and share your story.  If you can go back and tell those who are still waiting for their chance, let them know that life is waiting.”

 

Other articles that may interest you:

Employment Opportunities and Free Bonding Services

The TWC Fidelity Bonding service helps at-risk job applicants including ex-offenders get and keep a job. TWC and the Workforce Development Boards offer free fidelity bonding services to reduce employers' concerns about hiring at-risk job applicants who cannot be bonded through other sources. Please click here for more information.

   TWC_1

Additional Information:

Course Titles and Skills Information 
Certifications 
Bonding Services
Submit Job Opportunities
Employer Surveys

 

WSD partnership with San Antonio Food Bank enriches graduates, gives back to community - The San Antonio Food Bank (SAFB) recently held a commencement ceremony for students participating in the Texas Second Chance Warehouse Program. This partnership between Windham School District (WSD), Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) and the SAFB allows currently incarcerated offenders to participate in a 100-hour course. They work with pallets, forklifts and customer orders, learning “all of the ins and outs of making the SAFB an effective, smooth-running, logistical operation,” said SAFB Chief Development Officer Michael Guerra.

Leo Pereida graduates from Texas Tech after 15 years in prison - Pereida earned a bachelor's degree in community and family addiction services from the College of Human Sciences. Saturday morning, he sat in the front row of graduates with nervous anticipation and a smile on his face. He spoke with his fellow graduates often and as his name was read held his head high, knowing that he had accomplished his goal.

WSD donates more than $20,000 statewide in 2015 State Employee Charitable Campaign - Windham School District employees opened their hearts and checkbooks in September and October of 2015, donating $20,000.82 to the State Employee Charitable Campaign (SECC). Using payroll deduction, cash or check donations and profits from a statewide sale of "We Are Windham" polo and t-shirts, WSD employees generously made gifts to local, state and national charities of their choice.