Second Chance Jobs: A program to put people back to work, one trade at a time

CSRA News

AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) — Second Chance Jobs is a four-month program that gives high school dropouts and ex-convicts another shot at entering the workforce. 18 graduates now have the blueprint to their career choice.

After 16 weeks of performing hard skilled labor, these graduates will finally get their take two.

“Second Chance just gave me the chance to better my life if I felt like it,” said Exzabian Myers. “They allowed me to go forward if I felt like it.”

The Second Chance Jobs program targets those who dropped out of school or committed a felony. Meyers says he knows first hand how difficult it is to find a job when you make a bad decision.

“I had graduated and got in trouble,” explained Myers. “I had a high school diploma, but I couldn’t go to the next level because I waited too late.”

With a certificate now in their hands, Debbie Reese says the graduates can find a job through the department of labor and home builders institute.

“They can work anywhere in the United States with the certification should they move, which is an excellent bonus to this program,” said Reese.

The executive director of Second Chance Jobs, Colin Slaven, says skilled labor is in short supply.

“It’s a win-win for everybody. Because the employers are hurting for skilled labor, the unemployment rate is so low, 3.9 percent,” explained Slaven. “And they can’t find the skilled laborer in the workforce.”

Myers told NewsChannel 6 reporter Devin Johnson, he hopes his certificate will open the door to secure a full-time job.

“The job I’m at Dr. Savage in Augusta, Georgia, they are trying to keep me, I believe,” said Myers. “I’ve been getting so many hours; all the hours I can get really.”

The two executive directors say helping displaced workers in Aiken South Carolina isn’t their primary focus. Slavin and Reese have brought the first class of second chance jobs to Augusta.

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