'Turnaround Tuesday' places ex-offenders, unemployed in jobs

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A group of ex-offenders, unemployed, and underemployed people meet every Tuesday at churches in East and West Baltimore, respectively.

"For many people, this is like a family. Because, we accept anybody," Terrell Williams, co-director of BUILD's Turnaround Tuesday, said. "These are adults. Adults don't want to be talked to. They want to be engaged."

The Turnaround Tuesday program has placed more than 350 people in jobs with more than a dozen partner employers.

"It's like a Godsend. God led me here," participant Ed Rogers, who works at University of Maryland Medical Center, said. "An employer who would take a chance with Turnaround Tuesday members, I don't think would go wrong, because we have a good track record so far."

Turnaround Tuesday provides workforce training and personalized coaching to its participants.

"We have to give them a 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th chance, because, ultimately, we're gonna end up paying for it. We're gonna end up paying their health care. We're gonna end up paying for them to go to prison," Williams said. "What does it take for an individual to want something so badly, or need something so badly, and nobody would give it to them? So, for them, the only option they have was to continue to sell drugs."

The non-profit Baltimoreans United In Leadership Development, BUILD, runs Turnaround Tuesday, which meets Tuesdays at Zion Baptist Church from 9-11 a.m. and Macedonia Baptist Church from 2-4 p.m.

"You don't really have to allow your mistakes in the past to dictate your present and your future, and I'm being an example of that," Rogers said, who served more than 20 years in prison for an armed robbery conviction.

To learn more about Turnaround Tuesday, visit: http://www.buildiaf.org/current-campaigns/.

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