“With the support of the community”, students graduate from the training program

Upon completion, participants have a head start in entering the workforce, finding an apprenticeship or furthering their education, Cruse said.

“There is such a sense of commitment here to improve their lives. They feel empowered and at the same time supported by the community,” Cruse said. “They’ve really developed skills and confidence, and the big step now is to turn that into jobs.”

Participants vary in age and previous experience, but most join the program for similar reasons, including to earn a more lucrative income and to have a career they love.

Trenton Warren had no formal electrical training, but broke into the field after meeting McGhee at a job site where he was doing construction. Then 17, Warren quickly began shadowing McGhee before deciding to open his own business, Warrens Electric LLC.

“It’s a job I want to be in for the rest of my life,” Warren, now 21, said on Saturday.

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Erick Watson, 53, said he was drawn to the electrical field with the aim of earning more money and taking up less physically demanding work.

“It’s one of the highest paying jobs right now,” he said, adding that he had previous experience in renovations and roofing. “There was also a lot of money in there, but it was grueling.”

Program participants also had access Saturday to the Montgomery County Mobile Workforce Unit — a repurposed recreational vehicle as an extension of the Job Center in Dayton. The Mobile Workforce Unit allows individuals to get help with resumes, job searches, job training opportunities, and more.

To learn more, visit daytonurbanministry.org.

Ryan H. Bowman