Second Chance Graduates its Tenth Deconstruction Training Class

July 17, 2015


Mark S. Foster, President & Founder, Second Chance, Inc. 

Brice Freeman

Second Chance Graduates its Tenth Deconstruction Training Class 

Baltimore, MD – July 17, 2015 – Second Chance’s tenth deconstruction training class graduated today at the nonprofit’s workforce development and job training center at 1700 Ridgely Street in downtown Baltimore. The program, a longtime collaboration between Second Chance, Inc. and the Baltimore City Mayor’s Office of Employment Development (MOED), provides training in marketable, “green economy” job skills to people with multiple barriers to employment.

The program was launched in 2003 and has a history of achieving excellent outcomes. Of the previous five classes, 100% of trainees earned occupational safety certifications; 95% earned their Certificates of Completion; 100% of program graduates found full-time employment at Second Chance after the program; and 80% of program graduates remained employed at Second Chance or with another employer for at least 12 months.

One of the most successful members of the six-person class of 2015 is also the first woman to have participated in the Deconstruction Training Program: Leslie Joyner. Joyner, who describes herself as a hands-on person who likes to work outdoors, had been out of work for six months before joining the Deconstruction Training Program.

“Second Chance is a blessing for a lot of people. You get a chance to travel to different places. You get a lot of experience and you actually learn a lot,” said Joyner. “If I can take apart the house, I can build the house.”

Second Chance utilizes the training program to deconstruct houses and other buildings and salvage the appliances, furniture, fixtures and materials for resale at its warehouse store in downtown Baltimore. Second Chance, a pioneer in deconstruction when it introduced its training program during a dynamic period in the development of “green” building standards and techniques, has grown its deconstruction crew from four to almost 50 people.

“A ‘green’ training program for those with employment challenges is a natural fit for us,” said Second Chance President and Founder Mark Foster. “We believe in giving materials and especially people a second chance.”

The 20-week Deconstruction Training Program incorporates both classroom learning and onthe-job experience. Participants are trained in deconstruction tools and techniques as well as the “soft skills” that help them to manage their professional and personal lives. They also receive certifications in safety protocols, including OSHA 10 (US Occupational Safety and Health Administration), a key credential for workers in the construction trades.

Paying a living wage is an essential element of the program. “The population we serve is unemployed. Offering them full-time, paid employment throughout the training program reduces the likelihood of recidivism; provides them with an employment history; and helps them to support themselves and their families. Additionally, they gain the life skills and work habits necessary to meet 21st century job readiness standards,” said Foster.

In addition to providing a portion of the funding, MOED identifies qualified candidates who could benefit from the program. The program targets city residents who face multiple barriers to employment, such as chronic unemployment or criminal records.

“Second Chance grads are overcoming challenges and orienting themselves on a path of responsible, productive citizenship,” said MOED Director Jason Perkins-Cohen. “I am proud of each of these graduates and pleased with our Second Chance partnership that results in people reaching new career goals.”

William Carnes who works as a Business Service Representative for MOED and is the Project Manager for Second Chance’s Customized Training, said, “I’ve been a part of the Second Chance Customized Training since 2007 and I can simply say, as the name implies, it has given folks a second chance on life. Second Chance has employed a number of ex-offenders who were on the verge of giving up hope and provided them with gainful and substantial employment.”

A number of corporations and foundations, including BB&T, Northrop Grumman’s Employee Charities Organization, PNC Bank, The Grainger Foundation and Wells Fargo, provided generous financial support for the 2015 graduating class.

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