Meet John

bricklayingWorkforce Challenge

“I wanted employment, period. I wanted stability. And I knew I needed my GED to get a job.” That’s what brought John, 22, to the Westside Youth Opportunity (YO) Center in 2009. Through YO, John took advantage of GED classes, life skills workshops, job readiness training and community service projects. Staff members said John was clearly motivated to make changes in his life, and he excelled both in the classroom and during community service projects.

Workforce Solution

In 2012, John achieved one of his primary goals by successfully earning his GED. During that time, he was also working toward his career goals. YO Job Developer Marvin McKenstry connected John with an internship and job training opportunity with Nelson Precast, a manufacturing company located in West Baltimore. Nelson Precast produces custom-cast stone and architectural concrete products, work that requires extensive specialized training. Most job seekers, including those with general construction backgrounds, lack the specific skills required for precast work. John performed so well during his three-month internship and training period, Nelson Precast offered him a full-time position before the internship had ended.

Outcomes & Benefits

John has held his full-time position at Nelson Precast for more than three years. He enjoys the physical aspect of the job, as well as the fact that it’s mentally challenging and requires meticulous precision. He also likes seeing his work incorporated into local buildings, such as the Northeast Market on Monument Street, and seeing photographs of his work in buildings outside Maryland. He says, “My mentality is to learn as much as I can and use that knowledge as a stepping stone for my future.”

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