“I was once just a number,” said Marcelus Turner, citing his time in prison. “Now I am a new man with new opportunities and a chance to build something with my life.” Turner (speaking, in photo below) was one of fourteen Building Futures students who graduated last week from a six-week intensive pre-apprenticeship program. For many of the students and their families, it was the latest stage of an emotional journey leading to fresh opportunities in the region’s construction industry. The ceremony included dozens of family members as well as instructors and mentors from Operative Plasterers and Cement Masons Local 891 and Community Services Agency staff. Like Turner, the other Building Futures graduates have overcome personal, economic and professional obstacles that have kept them out of productive career pathways. Over the course of the training, Building Futures staff worked with students individually to remove -- or at least limit -- these obstacles while students learned essential construction industry skills. The pre-apprenticeship training combines hands-on construction skills training at several union apprenticeship programs, along with construction math, blueprint reading, resume-writing and interviewing skills, on-the-job relationship building and time management, orientation to the construction industry and apprenticeship. Building Futures is a program of the Community Services Agency of the Metropolitan Washington Council, AFL-CIO. Recruitment has begun for the summer program, which begins July 31st. Applications are due July 18th. Click here to download the Building Futures flyer.