HALETHORPE, Md. — Marty Schwartz was running a program to provide low-cost used vehicles to underprivileged Maryland residents so they could get to their job, but then he ran into a problem — the repair shops he worked with couldn't recondition the up to 40 donated vehicles a month because of a lack of service technicians.
That's why in 2015 Schwartz added a service technician training element to his nonprofit organization Vehicles for Change with one specific population in mind.
"As we developed the [technician training] idea, we leaned toward training individuals coming out of prison," said Schwartz, the organization's CEO.
He knew Maryland's prisons had automotive service technician training programs, but many program graduates couldn't get jobs after release because of their criminal record and their lack of work experience.
"They already had some training; we just needed to figure out how to get them jobs," Schwartz said.