Process

My name is Michael G. Santos. I’m a representative of Straight-A-Guide Staffing Solutions and the documents that follow will show participants who want to transform their lives into law-abiding citizens how we can help.

We’ve designed this program to serve as a resource for those who have difficult backgrounds but want to transition into the workforce. Like those who join Straight-A-Guide Staffing Solutions, I am a man with a background that made it difficult to find employment. I was arrested in 1987 and charged with crimes related to the distribution of cocaine. The drug conviction resulted in a federal judge hitting me with a 45-year sentence. The laws in place in the mid-1980s meant that I could complete my sentence in 26 years by avoiding disciplinary problems inside. I finished serving my federal prison sentence on August 12, 2013.

From the beginning, I understood that many employers would resist hiring a man who served 9,500 days as a prisoner. With that difficulty in mind, I worked hard throughout my sentence to prepare for the challenges I expected to face upon release. As a consequence of those preparations, I walked out of prison with values, skills, and resources that led to employment opportunities and stability. It is my job to teach those strategies to others. I’m convinced that anyone who adheres to those strategies can build stability.

At Straight-A-Guide Staffing Solutions, we work to provide basic job-training and job-placement services for people who want to transition from struggle to stability. Change doesn’t happen by accident. At the Straight-A Guide, we say that change begins with attitude. Before we can talk about the right attitude, we need a basic understanding of values and goals. With that end in mind, we’ve designed the Straight-A Guide as a values-based, goal-oriented program. It worked to change my life, and anyone who wants to change can do the same.

Values:

At Straight-A-Guide Staffing Solutions, we strive to provide direction for those who want to grow into law-abiding, contributing citizens. I found that direction through books I read about leadership early on during my sentence. The more I read about leadership, the more I came to accept successful people followed a pattern of living. They began their life with clarity, understanding what would define success for them. To the extent that they could pinpoint that vision, they could succeed in different areas of their life. They could succeed in areas related to their marriage, their fitness, their career, their community involvement, their faith, or in every area that they defined as being essential to them. Those areas became their value categories.

At Straight-A-Guide Staffing Solutions, we offer exercises that will help our team develop a better understanding of values and value categories. Those values will help them define success in their life.

Goals:

Whereas most employment services reject individuals who have a troubled past, at Straight-A-Guide Staffing Solutions, we expect those who come to us looking for work to have a troubled past. That’s okay. We’re more concerned about going forward than looking back. After all, few people would have a past as troubled as mine, with 26 years of prison behind them. A clear understanding of how to set both short- and long-term goals transformed my life. Anyone who understands how to use goals effectively, and has the discipline to commit wholeheartedly to achieving goals can grow from where they are today to a better life tomorrow. Straight-A-Guide Staffing Solutions can be a start for those who want to reach their highest potential.

Our development exercises challenge participants to understand their values, then to set goals that are consistent with those values. Straight-A-Guide Staffing Solutions considers short-term goals as those that the individual is committed to achieving during the next 90 days. We identify long-term goals as those the individuals want to achieve beyond the next 90 days.  We’ve designed exercises to show participants the value in setting goals that stretch far into the future, including one year, five years, ten years, and 20-year goals.

By making commitments to living a goal-oriented life, I transitioned from prisoner to success. At Straight-A-Guide Staffing Solutions, we’re committed to helping those who work with us to do the same.

Attitude:

Individuals who have troubled backgrounds face enormous struggles when they try to enter the workforce. Those of us at Straight-A-Guide Staffing Solutions work to provide employment opportunities for such individuals, but we’re only willing to work with people who have the right attitude. We define the right attitude as showing a 100 percent commitment to success. It’s the only way that we can persuade employers to work with us.

Let’s face it. Employers have numerous people to choose from when considering new hires, even for entry-level positions. Since employers can face liability issues if they hire felons, many companies operate with policies that prohibit managers from putting felons to work. Background checks easily reveal which job candidates have felony records.

At Straight-A-Guide Staffing Solutions, we make the case that when managers extend employment opportunities for our applicants they simultaneously make an investment in building stronger communities. We will only recommend applicants who have demonstrated that they have the right attitude. We will work hard to open job opportunities for our candidates, but we will not work harder than the applicants themselves. The personal development exercises provide us with the tools we need to make the case for employers. They show whether an applicant has the right attitude for employment.

Aspiration:

We’re opening the door for employment at Straight-A-Guide Staffing Solutions. It’s up to the individual to take it further. Some applicants come to us because they need to begin building a resume, a work history. We’re thrilled if an employee begins with us, then transitions into a better employment opportunity. In fact, we’re willing to help by providing reference letters, recommendations, and even advice. We want our applicants to aspire for more than entry-level positions.

Action:

It’s wonderful to identify our value categories and to set clear goals. But leadership requires incremental action steps. At Straight-A-Guide Staffing Solutions, we expect our applicants to take the necessary action steps. They begin with showing up on time, working honestly, and demonstrating value. We’re all in this together. The clients of Straight-A-Guide Staffing Solutions expect us to provide workers who have a real interest in changing their lives. They don’t only talk about wanting to build lives of stability; they take the necessary incremental action steps along the way. Our development exercises show applicants the action steps I took to triumph over a lengthy prison sentence. Individuals can take those same types of deliberate action steps to reach a higher potential.

Accountability:

To transition from prisoner to law-abiding, contributing citizen, I accepted that I would have to persuade others to see me as something more than the bad decisions of my past. With that end in mind, I didn’t stop at spelling out the values that would define me. I also listed both the short- and long-term goals that others could follow. If I hit those goals, I succeeded. If I didn’t, I would provide a reason for why I failed. I was not afraid of failure, so long as others could hold me accountable for making a 100 percent commitment to success.

At Straight-A-Guide Staffing Solutions, we expect all applicants to embrace this same commitment to accountability. A commitment to accountability serves as a stepping-stone to success. Tell us where you want to be in one year, three years, and five years. Show us your plan to get there. Design accountability logs that will invite the world to hold you accountable. We’ll provide the tools to get you started with accountability logs.

Awareness:

I learned many lessons as I worked to climb from the depths of imprisonment. The concept of awareness represents one of those lessons. When we lead a values-based, goal-oriented life, I learned that we become aware of opportunities that we can seize. Simultaneously, others notice our commitment to success. As others become aware of such commitments, they make a vested interest in helping us succeed.

At Straight-A-Guide Staffing Solutions, we want participants who work with us to open their eyes so that they can either see or create new opportunities. Opportunities rarely present themselves by accident. Instead, we create them by making disciplined, deliberate decisions. The lesson plans that we offer will help participants develop critical-thinking skills that allow them to create opportunities. Simultaneously, those exercises will help individuals develop a skill set that makes others in the marketplace aware of their commitment to success.

Achievement:

Those of us who work at Straight-A-Guide Staffing Solutions believe in incremental steps toward achievement. Some people shoot for overnight success, but experience convinces us that most overnight success requires about 20 years of preparation. Those who begin this journey know how to celebrate every achievement along the way. We believe that every job represents an achievement, but success requires the discipline to keep that job, earning a steady paycheck and advancing toward higher aspirations.  Straight-A-Guide Staffing Solutions will work alongside applicants to help them recognize every achievement as they make the climb to sustainable success.

Appreciation:

Those who achieve high levels of success know how to express appreciation for all of the resources that came their way. At Straight-A-Guide Staffing Solutions, we show appreciation to our clients because they open employment opportunities for people with troubled backgrounds. We ask those who join our organization to help us by doing the same. Participants can show their appreciation by showing up on time, working honestly, and doing everything within their power to demonstrate the value that they can bring to employers.

Next steps:

Those who want to join Straight-A Guide Staffing Solutions may continue reading about our organization. Participants may choose to apply by filling out the application forms and participating in our 24-hour job-training program.