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Habitat for Humanity, BERC teach Westminster teens valuable job skills

In Carroll County, Habitat for Humanity is partnering with a local organization to teach job-training skills.

“We’ve been open since March, and it’s going phenomenal,” said Scott Swartz, executive director of Habitat for Humanity Carroll County.

Merchandise moves fast at the ReStore in Westminster. All the profits go toward Habitat for Humanity’s mission to build affordable housing in the community. But to make it work, they’re putting volunteers to work and teaching job skills in the process.

“We are doing forklift training, customer service, warehousing,” Swartz said.

It’s hands-on experience, but also, in an innovation classroom, Habitat for Humanity is partnering with Carroll County’s Business Employment Resource Center (BERC) to put teens to work this summer thanks to grants from State Farm and the United Way.

“They are learning a lot of customer service, how to interact with the public, how to interact with coworkers, and just to be in a formal traditional job setting. How to take direction from a manager and how to work together as a team,” said Megan Blizzard, BERC youth program coordinator.

BERC has a program for adults as well, but the youth program just began and it’s already providing a foundation to move forward in life.

“We are about three weeks into our program, and just in that short amount of time, we’ve seen them blossom so much. They really come out of the shells. They are so much more social now,” Blizzard said.

The innovation classroom is available for rent and is free to nonprofits.

“We will be doing how-tos later on as we start to work with some local refinishers,” Swartz said.

To watch the video click here.

Source: WBAL – TV
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