More than a dozen people are getting a second chance to land a job thanks to a new Frederick non-profit.
“We’re about permanent jobs, we’re not about a temporary job. it’s justice jobs – we want it to be a job that can transform a person’s life,” explained executive director of Justice Jobs of Maryland, Bob Clegg.
For the last six months, Clegg has led cohorts of people looking to find work through Justice Jobs of Maryland, a Frederick-based non-profit.
Many of the applicants come here because they run into a unique hurdle during the job hunt.
“It had been almost a year since I’d been working, so I had been out of the workforce for a while,” said former applicant at Justice Jobs of Maryland, Stacy Mowery.
“I got into a little bit of trouble, and I wanted to get my life back on track,” former applicant Jeremy Castillo explained.
Clegg says some just haven’t had a job for a long period of time, or are recovering from substance abuse or were recently released from prison.
It’s these applicants that can go overlooked when employers are looking to fill a position.
“For people who have issues with esteem because of some of the things they’ve been through, or who have difficulty with a legal record or a lapse in employment, that makes it tougher because they’re the ones who get pushed to the side,” Clegg says.
Clegg volunteered for more than two years at Jubilee Jobs in D.C., and has taken to Frederick their model of workforce development through resume-building workshops and interview roleplay.
“I’ve always been nervous when I go into interview. Doing the mock interview and having all the questions that you usually answer ask you at the interview; we went through all the answers so I had it written down, so I was able to practice before I actually went on an interview. It was a lot easier for me to get the confidence back, to actually go out and apply and want to interview somewhere,” Mowery said.
Dick Gilliam works alongside Clegg as a volunteer program manager, and says one of the biggest hurdles is regaining confidence and getting a new outlook on their potential.
Gilliam says he only learned this after committing a felony as a teenager, and being sent to prison.
“Our past isn’t going to define who we are now, or who we can be. In redefining ourselves, we’re trying to get over our own sensibilities and what we think about ourselves. It’s one of the things we’re trying to help them with,” explained Gilliam.
For Castillo, a rocky divorce led to depression and more than a year without a job.
Confidence in himself was at an all-time low, but after gaining the skills to land a job in construction, Castillo says he’s walked away with more.
“I really wanted to get my life back on track. I have three daughters, and I wanted to become a responsible member of society again. In due time, I can become who I wanted to be. I’m not there yet, but I’m in the process of becoming a better person,” Castillo said.
Mowery was among the first people who went through training and professional development in June 2018. She is currently employed with two jobs.
For more information, visit JusticeJobsMd.org