Hiring People Under Community Supervision-An Employer’s Perspective-Darryl Hallman

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[Audio Begins]

Len Sipes:  From the nation’s capital, this is D.C. Public Safety.  I’m your host, Leonard Sipes.  We continue our conversations with a series of employers about what it takes to get employers to hire individuals under community supervision.  We are the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency, a federal parole and probation agency here in Washington D.C.  Today, we are talking to Darryl Hallman.  He is the director of the AYT Institute.  They, interestingly enough, have 110 employees, they train auto technicians in six locations throughout the District of Columbia, and virtually all of them have been caught up in the criminal justice system, and that, I find, is really interesting.  He also trains individuals.  He has about 30 people involved in training right now, again, to be a auto technician.  Before we get into the interview with Darryl, our usual commercial, thank you very much all of you for contacting us and listening to us and watching us and interacting with us.  We’re up to 225,000 requests on a monthly basis for D.C. Public Safety radio, television, blog, and transcripts.  If you need to get in touch with me directly, it’s Leonard – L-E-O-N-A-R-D – dot-sipes – S-I-P-E-S – @csosa.gov, or follow us by twitter, that’s twitter.com/lensipes.  Back to Darryl Hallman, director of the AYT Institute.  Darryl, welcome to D.C. Public Safety.

Darryl Hallman:  Thank you for having me.

Len Sipes:  Okay.  Now this is interesting.  Virtually everybody you got employed at six places throughout the District of Columbia and the state of Maryland, they’ve been caught up in the criminal justice system.

Darryl Hallman:  Not completely 100% of them, but the majority of them.

Len Sipes:  But the majority of them.  Okay.  Why is it that you have decided to reach out to people caught up in the criminal justice system?  I mean, quite frankly, the stereotype is, let’s avoid these folks.  And what you’re doing is embracing them.

Darryl Hallman:  Well, we find that AYT has been in the community for a while, actually 20 years, and we felt like we wanted to give something back to the community, and one way that we could do that is to bring in the local citizens and train them where they could have a career, and decided to start a school, and that’s how we got where we are.  We went after the people that had supported us for so many years.

Len Sipes:  But again, when I’ve talked to employers in the past, some of them have expressed dismay over hiring people under our supervision.  About 53% at the moment are hired, which means that many are not.  Now some of them are caught up in prison, and some of them are caught up in jail, and some of them are not available for supervision, but we have literally thousands of people who are months, if not years away from their last dirty urine who are literally years away from their criminal activity, they’re pretty much solid citizens, but that criminal history is holding them back from getting a job, so that’s one of the reasons why we’re talking to you today is to get the employer’s perspective as to what it takes to hire folks, but it doesn’t sound like you need much convincing.  You did this because you wanted to give back.

Darryl Hallman:  Well, we feel that everyone needs a second chance, and if no one else is willing to give them a second chance, then we are.  So when everybody else is finished with them and throw them away, then we open our doors and say, okay, we understand.  And we have an opportunity that we’d like to introduce you to.

Len Sipes:  What happens when you give that guy a second chance?  So he shows up for work with this dumbfounded look on his face because he doesn’t know what he’s getting into, and you all do what with him?

Darryl Hallman:  Well, we actually train them first.  They have to come in for an interview, and we talk to them and let them know what’s expected from them and what they can expect from us, and upon that completion of the interview, if it’s something that they want to do, then we set them up for training, and we put them in the class, and upon completion of the class, we give them an apprenticeship, and the rest is history.  They’re all working right now.  Right now, we do have 100% retention rate and 100% job placement, so –

Len Sipes:  Which means they’re all getting jobs elsewhere if you work with individuals to place them elsewhere, or they’re all working for the AYT Institute.

Darryl Hallman:  That’s correct.

Len Sipes:  That’s amazing.

Darryl Hallman:  Yes, yes.

Len Sipes:  Now why is it that you do so well when the rest of us fail?  Well, I don’t want to say the rest of us fail all the time, but the rate of failure –

Darryl Hallman:  There are some successful businesses out there as well.  However, we understand our community.  We have compassion.  We make them feel like they’re important, and we give them a future and a career, so when they see that there’s light at the end of the tunnel, and they do have a second chance, and someone do believe in them, then it motivates them to do the best that they can, because we’re going to give them our best.

Len Sipes:  A lot of individuals, or the people that we talked to, they have a hard time hearing this and understanding this.  I’ve met very few people coming out of the prison system.  There are some that are going to go straight back.  And they know it.  They’re going to go straight back and hit those streets, and they’re going to be high within half an hour getting there, and they’re going to be thugging and mugging within a fairly short amount of time.  But the great majority of them don’t want to go back.  The great majority of them want a straight life.

Darryl Hallman:  That’s true.

Len Sipes:  But a lot of them literally, literally do not know how to accomplish a straight life.

Darryl Hallman:  Well, I think that with our company, with our company and your company, if we are able to give them the information that they need and to make their transition smoother by providing them and assisting them, things would be a lot better, and you know, just giving them the information that they require, a lot of them don’t know what they want, and you have to lay it out on the table for them, and once you do that, they make a decision as to what they want to do, and if you can accompany them, then the rest is pretty easy.

Len Sipes:  The website for the AYT Institute is www.ayti – that even rhymes!  ayti.us.  www.ayti.us.  Darryl, what can we do?  The Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency, what we’re telling employers is that, look, I mean, if you’re looking for that individual who’s drug free, we’ll give you that individual who’s drug free.  We can prove they’re drug free.  If you’re looking for that individual who has a good attitude, who simply wants to go to work, or a person, we have a ton of people with skills, with hard skills.  I mean, what can we do to make it easier for the private sector to hire our folks?

Darryl Hallman:  Well, I think CSOSA’s actually doing quite a job right now, and if they continue to do what they’re doing and let the public sector know what’s available and let the employers know what’s available, I think your rate will go up.  I wasn’t aware of a lot of things that CSOSA did until recently, and I’m pretty happy with the responses I’m getting from CSOSA, and it’s been an experience for me to work with CSOSA.  I think that if they went out after more employers, and there’s a lot of small companies like mine as well as other companies that just don’t know what you guys have to offer.  If the individuals coming through your program know that we’re out there, and we’re willing to take a chance, and CSOSA knows that we’re out there, and we’re working together as partners, I think things will go a lot smoother.

Len Sipes:  What does it take for an employer to hire somebody under supervision?  I would imagine, honesty about the fact that he’s committed a crime, he’s not going to hide that, he knows that he’s got to show up every single day, he knows that he’s got to show up sober, and if he’s under CSOSA’s supervision, we drug test the dickens out of our folks, so we’re going to know if the person’s doing drugs or starts doing drugs.  That’s what people want, right?  A good attitude, show up every day, show up on time, whatever drama’s going on in your life, leave it at the doorstep, give me a good solid 8 hours, and we can help them find those sort of people.

Darryl Hallman:  Yeah, I think that’s, that goes a long ways.  You know, you want to be able to sell yourself.  You don’t want to oversell yourself, and my experience is that some of the people who are looking for jobs oversell themselves.  Where you do that, you take back, take a step back and you look at these people, and they’re like, well why are they trying to convince me, it’s not necessary.  So if they know to go out there and tell the truth and be honest and say, hey, it is what it is, and this is what it is, it would be a lot easier for employers like myself, or as a school to enroll these students, because we see that you’re genuine.  Not trying to corrupt anything.

Len Sipes:  Isn’t that the issue of how genuine the person is?  I mean, some folk, when they come out of the prison system, they’re not going back, and they’re just filled with faith and they’re just filled with whatever, and god bless them, but you know, I mean, sometimes you wonder if they’re truly in control of their own destiny, because they’re being so stoic, they’re being so self-righteous.  I mean, sometimes I think what an employer’s looking for is honesty and genuineness.

Darryl Hallman:  Absolutely.  That’s what I look at, and that’s what I listen to when I interview any potential student that’s coming to my program, I just tell them, be real with me, I’m going to be real with you, let’s lay everything on the table, let’s make a decision, let’s be honest with ourselves and if you know that this is what you want to do, and you have faith, you will succeed, and that’s how we got to the point where we are, you have to believe in yourself, and you have to really want it.  Don’t do it for me, don’t do it for your probation officer, don’t do it for your wife, do it for yourself.

Len Sipes:  Do it for yourself –

Darryl Hallman:  And if you do that for yourself, then you can believe in yourself.  We’re going to make sure that you have everything you need.  We’re going to give you what it takes to be successful.  It’s just up to you –

Len Sipes:  Amen.

Darryl Hallman:  – to take control of it and to run with it.  We’re even going to try to place you.  So it’s up to the individual that really wants it.  There’s a lot of people out there that want it that’s been neglected, but there’s also a lot of people that want it that’s not aware that it’s out there for them.

Len Sipes:  And the point is, and we have to close the program, is that if we can increase the level of employment, especially those people that have been off drugs for a long time, been away from criminality for a long time, they’re not thugging and mugging, they’re just regular Jane and John Doe citizens that are looking for a job, the crime rate would go down, and our tax paid dollars would go down.

Darryl Hallman:  Yeah, absolutely, absolutely.  And that’s why AYT is in the business of training to give people not just a job, but a career.

Len Sipes:  Got it.  Darryl Hallman, director of the AYT Institute.  I love the address, the website address, www.ayti.us, www.ayti.us.  Thank you for being with us.  Ladies and gentlemen, this is D.C. Public Safety.  Up to 225,000 requests on a monthly basis for radio, television, therefore, the blog and transcripts, if you want to get in touch with me directly, Leonard, L-E-O-N-A-R-D – dot-sipes – S-I-P-E-S – @csosa.gov, and I want everybody to have themselves a very, very pleasant day.

[Audio Ends]

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