Ruben Gaona wants to help former inmates find quality work. That’s why he co-founded The Way Out, a non-profit to connect justice-involved individuals with quality jobs. It also offers additional support services and technologies to help former inmates integrate better into their new roles.
Before The Way Out, Gaona founded 2ndChanceWisconsin, which educates individuals on how to better market themselves to employers. He’s also worked as a case manager and bilingual employment and training specialist.
In this episode, Gaona explains how he began hustling at a young age. He had big dreams, but also needed to ensure money kept coming in. He decided to join the Navy, but a medical issue caused him to get discharged. Soon, Gaona faced further financial struggles and began selling and trafficking drugs.
After more than seven years behind bars, Gaona was determined to get on the right path. He wanted to help people and saw case management as a way to do that.
Stay tuned at the end of the episode for our “Deep Dive” segment where we zoom in on one point our guest made, take a deeper dive into how it all relates to the broader Jail to Jobs policy context. In this episode, we explore entrepreneurship.