Laurel, Maryland – The Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS) cut the ribbon today at the grand reopening of “Carl’s Cars,” the facility’s automotive training shop for youth in its care at New Beginnings Youth Development Center. The reopening of the automotive teaching facility - shut down in 2006 but restored under the current administration - aligns closely with Mayor Bowser’s focus on increasing economic opportunity for all District residents, especially returning citizens.
The auto shop is named after Carl Matthews, a 29-year DYRS staff member whose personal experience informed his mentorship of the young people in DYRS care.
“I was one of these youth,” said Matthews. “One day I was working and I heard somebody say, ‘I think the problem around here is that they keep hiring these ex-convicts.’ I remember wanting to crawl out of here because I was afraid you’d find out about my past. And now you’re naming something after me? You can’t pay me for what you’ve given me.”
“What you represent is exactly what we need to heal ourselves,” said DYRS Director Clinton Lacey. “We asked ourselves, ‘How can we take that concept from being something abstract and make it real?’ The conclusion is that it lives inside of you in the opportunities you have. You have the answers that we’re going to need in this world.”
New Beginnings currently offers an array of classes and certifications geared toward helping youth become more productive citizens in the community, including barbering, cosmetology, digital arts, and construction.
DYRS will continue to work with its sister agencies to highlight vocational job training and pathways to the middle class for all citizens.
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