Vehicles for A Change opens Full Circle training center in Salisbury, offering ex-convicts a chance to become certified car technicians at local dealerships


SALISBURY, Md – An inexpensive used car for a family in need, refurbished by workers recently released from prison who are being trained to work at dealerships.

That’s the promise Vehicles For A Change Delmarva made to the Salisbury community at the groundbreaking ceremony for their Full Circle Service Center on Thursday in Winterplace Park.

The center will train and pay up to 30 workers for a period of 4 months, allowing them to obtain essential certifications to go to work as automotive technicians at dealerships in the region.

As they learn, the cars they train on will be donated to families in need on Delmarva, with warranty and funding, under a program designed to fight recidivism, lack of transport on the shore and the shortage of manpower, all at the same time.

“We take donated cars and then into our program and fix them, identify families who need a car to get to and from jobs, we sell the car to them for $950, we have provided a warranty six months to keep the car on the road and give them a 12-month loan so they can build credit,” said Martin Schwartz, executive director of Vehicles for A Change.

Jeffery Diaz was recently incarcerated but is now one of 30 interns learning to become a technician at the facility.

“We’re able to be in the classroom doing some book work, we’re here to help out, it’s a really good program to be in, just to help people and get the training that I need,” Diaz said.

Instructor James Martin says dealerships like Pohanka in Salisbury need workers with these skills and he has never worked with more motivated students.

“I come here, they are all here before me, they come they want to work hard, they are dedicated, they have excelled and I have been proud, they have impressed me so much, it is a different group than the one I I usually coach but they want more than any other band I’ve formed,” Martin said.

Members of the group speaking at the event say it is not just a job training service, as they will have social workers and comprehensive services designed to prepare program workers to succeed and overcome all the challenges of the transition to the labor market. .

“These places need technicians, we take people, we give them basic mechanical skills, electrical skills, tools, automotive knowledge and I train them on the systems, but if they have housing needs , we train them on any kind of need that they maybe we should do our best to accommodate,” Martin said.


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