9 Certificates Awarded in 2nd Graduation Ceremony
With more than 75 family members and friends cheering them on, the second cohort from the College of Southern Marylands Juvenile Offenders Building Skills (JOBS) program crossed the stage to celebrate their successful completion Nov. 5 amid pomp and circumstance.
Accepting certificates of completion for plumbing and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning), the nine graduates were Michael C. Abresch of Charlotte Hall, Cecil Adams of Indian Head, Demarco Campbell of Bryans Road, Daniel “Ray” Johnson Jr. of Nanjemoy, Scott B. Johnson Jr. of Waldorf, Ondo E. Mike of Lusby, Jesse P. Morin of Hughesville, Raymond S. Morris of Bryans Road and Shane R. Sorrells of Port Tobacco.
“This is a special event,” CSM President Dr. Brad Gottfried told those assembled. “It's about success. We all make mistakes and the road to success is learning from them and moving forward. That's what you have done. Not only are you provided skills, many of you have earned GEDs, and many have come back to the college to take classes. Others are getting into apprenticeship programs. The future is very bright for these individuals.”
Funding for the program, which is a collaboration among the college and 40 strategic partners from Calvert, Charles and St. Mary's counties, is provided through a $1.5 million grant from the US Department of Labor. The program serves young adult ex-offenders with job training, service-learning and placement services while building self-esteem, reinforcing positive workplace behaviors and building a strong work ethic. Community service is built into the program, with the students spending two Fridays a month assisting local nonprofits with HVAC, plumbing and other needs.
Keynote Speaker Calvert County Commissioner Patrick Nutter and Guest Speaker Pastor John Lewis of Point of Change Ministry offered encouragement to the graduates during the ceremony. “The only person stopping you from going ahead is you, but you have already started. You made that big step tonight,” Nutter said. “I'm so proud of you because you are going forward.”
Sincerity is the key, Lewis told the graduates. Be sincere about whatever you do. Those who say I can and those who say I can are probably right. You must be sincere about moving to the next level.
In addition to the certificates, several students were recognized for receiving Maryland High School Diplomas, including Abresch, Daniel Johnson and Sorrells. Additionally Mike was awarded for Best Attendance, Morin was awarded Most Improved-HVAC, and Sorrells was awarded Most Improved-Plumbing.
For information on the program, visit www.csmd.edu/CommunityOutreach/jobs.html.