New Start Has Third Graduation – More Ex-Offenders Getting Jobs

It used to be a high school.

Students would walk from class-to-class trying to find the clues that would help them be successful in life. Bells, hall passes, and minute supervision.

Five if Six New Start Graduates. From Left. Quincey Thomas, Larry Bass, Henry Lowman, Markeith Baynard, LaVare Brown. Jason Geiser not shown
Five of Six New Start Graduates. From Left: Quincey Thomas, Larry Bass, Henry Lowman, Markeith Baynard, LaVare Brown. Jason Geiser not shown

What was once Claymont High School is now the Claymont Community Center and the building’s highly polished colorful floor tiles still echo of education. The echo is louder than you might imagine.

There was a graduation Thursday morning at about 10 a.m. But this one was a tad different.

The students at this graduation had been moving for a different set of bells, permissions, and minute supervision.

They were ex-offenders turning their life around and were graduating from the New Start Program, run by Professional Staffing Associates, Inc.

This was the third set of graduates from New Start since its inaugural class, which began in 2013.

Seeing an opportunity to use her skills, honed in more than 30 years of workforce development training, Professional Staffing owner Priscilla Turgon saw this as an important next step. .

“This is a great opportunity to help these men and at the same time educate the community, about the importance of reintegrating these citizens,” Ms. Turgon said. “Our work with the Delaware Workforce Investment Board (DWIB) has made this all possible – great partners working for a great outcome.”

The six men who graduated from the program spent 11 weeks, 8 hours a day, developing knowledge and skills to facilitate employment success. Those skills include:

  • Financial Literacy
  • Professional Communications
  • Computer Basics
  • Customer service

Although the curriculum is impressive, so are the results. Most of the people graduating from New Start have found jobs and continue to work.

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