Many of America’s prisons prefer to be called “rehabilitation centers.” While not all convicts use the time to rehabilitate, Hector Guadalupe did. Not only did he come out of prison with a tangible skill, he decided to teach other ex-cons how they can move on and begin a career in physical training.
Hector Guadalupe had ten years of his life taken from him after his conviction for dealing illicit substances. When he left prison, Hector did not come out angry at the system that locked him away but motivated to move forward.
It did not hurt that he earned a personal training certificate while he was inside. Guadalupe not only wanted to move on but also wanted to help out other ex-cons.
He said, “I have seen firsthand the struggle many formerly incarcerated individuals face once they come home.”
Guadalupe started Unibody two years ago, a personal training company. He has six staff, all of whom are former felons. He and his employees work as independent contractors at the CompleteBody gym in the Manhattan neighborhood Chelsea.
After months working on Unibody, Hector decided to begin a new venture, A Second U, a nonprofit. They recruit newly freed felons with the hope of training them to become personal fitness instructors.
The course lasts six weeks and hopes to land participants in health clubs around New York City. Since opening A Second U, Guadalupe claims that 70 people have graduated from the program and 98% of graduates have maintained employment.
Hector continues to push for felons in the workplace. He recently partnered with Columbia Business school to help push a city initiative for 200 city employers to hire 2,000 ex-cons over the next few years.
Guadalupe grew up in Williamsburg and was orphaned as a teen. He got involved in the streets without parents at home and landed in prison for his first offense due to mandatory minimums.