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Workforce System Success Stories - Workforce Development and Adult Learning

Mayor’s Office of Employment Development

With hard work and determination, returning citizen Vernon conquered employment barriers he faced.

As is the case with many returning citizens, Baltimore Native Vernon faced numerous barriers to employment because of his criminal background. He stated, “I was turned down for at least 50 or more jobs because of my record. I’d receive several calls telling me I have the job and they were just waiting for the background check to come back. But once that happened, I was denied.”

Refusing to give up, Vernon worked hard to better himself and his life. He graduated from trade school and became a certified carpenter. For several years he worked dead-end jobs earning next to nothing. It wasn’t enough to take care of his young son, much less get ahead.

In the fall of 2015, he enrolled in the energy retrofit installer training program at Civic Works’ Baltimore Center for Green Careers that received funding through USDOL’s grant, “One Baltimore for Jobs,” distributed through Maryland Department of Labor to Baltimore City Mayor’s Office of Employment Development. Vernon received comprehensive occupational and essential skills training in energy efficiency. He earned industry-recognized certifications, completed on-the-job training, and received case management support that included job placement services.

After completing the program in 19 weeks, Vernon began work as a salaried residential energy installation technician at a starting wage of $17.30 per hour with a growing regional home performance company, Efficient Home LLC. Vernon happily reflected, “Once I was placed with my company, the heartache and pain went away. It was a dream come true.”

Impressed with Vernon after only a few months on the job, Vernon’s employer enrolled him in Civic Works’ energy analyst incumbent worker training. This training afforded Vernon an additional certification that has opened up numerous opportunities for him to work independently on installation jobs and take on more responsibilities, resulting in a $2,000 annual raise.

With the support of his Civic Works “family” and a company that believes in him, Vernon said he plans to continue furthering his career and being an example for his son and those around him. Vernon sums up his experience, “The sky is the limit. Life is beautiful. It’s on you to choose your outcome.”