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Growing between the resume lines

Vets and ex-cons getting second chance at careers
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Posted at 11:27 PM, May 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-15 16:46:18-04

BALTIMORE. (WMAR) — Lines on a resume can make or break a candidate.

Certified--licensed--homeless--convicted felon.

"The door keeps getting shut in the face or they'll interview you, 'We'll call, we'll call;' nothing happens,” said Robert McLaughlin.

McLaughlin was a combat engineer in the army.

He went on to become a defense contractor, and then a felon.

When he got out he found his calling at the Herbert J. Hoelter Vocational Training Center.

They gave him a second chance when they hired him as an instructor.

"I had the offer to help give back and help these people along the way," McLaughlin said. "It just makes you feel real good about yourself."

78 percent of the ex-cons and homeless veterans walk out of the center with an automotive, HVAC, or Class B license and a job.

"They now have a trade where their making $25 an hour,” Director Gary Antonino said. “There's a career path for them to make $50,000 a year."

Master Giddens read a lot in jail.

Books on stocks, cooking, and of course cars.

He recited the motto that hangs over the garage that he reads everyday as he trains to become a mechanic.

"Behind you are the challenges you met, before you are new possibility's, and today you make a choice,” he said. “Every day when I come into class I read the same banner over and over."

He's teaching and learning the tools of the trade to get past the lines on the papers.

A group of 50 individuals is graduating from the program Thursday morning.

For more information on the programs click here.