With multiple wraparound services like the dedicated staff, practical support like access to vehicles and tools to build intergenerational wealth, CFUF is not a typical nonprofit.
Phillip McDaniels didn’t want to get stuck working as a day laborer after he finished serving time, and he was worried entering a typical workforce readiness program might only lead to a temporary foothold.
Instead, a decade later, Mr. McDaniels pinpoints his enrollment in STRIVE®
and the relationships he cultivated at CFUF as setting him on a trajectory that gave him a good career, a nice house, and the stability to raise his children and be a caretaker for his ailing mother.
“CFUF was the best thing that ever happened to me with where I was in my life at the time,” said Mr. McDaniels, a father of three who lives in East Baltimore. “They told us what they could offer us, but I don’t think anyone believed it. And then they did everything they told us they would do—and more.”
Mr. McDaniels is now a licensed plumber and HVAC technician for Constellation. He installs boilers, gas lines, and water heaters. His career path was a strategic move, he said: “I chose a couple of trades that weren’t going anywhere any time soon. I can technically work for myself with skills and licenses that no one can take from me.”
His first job after his STRIVE® graduation in 2012 was with McCormick & Company, where he started as a line technician and was promoted to a forklift operator in the blending department. He was grateful for the job, but he wanted to re-establish himself on a career track, so he went for additional training.
Two keys to his success from CFUF were workforce development director Glynnis Gladden and a 1996 green Toyota Camry that the organization helped him purchase from Vehicles for Change.
Mr. McDaniels said Ms. Gladden, who died in 2016, was a testament to the
ALL In attitude of the CFUF team. She was tough but beloved, and “she told you what she was about, what you needed to be about and she
helped you as best as she could.”
“With multiple wraparound services like the dedicated staff, practical support like access to vehicles and tools to build intergenerational wealth,” Mr. McDaniels said CFUF is not a typical nonprofit and STRIVE® is not a typical workforce readiness program. He sees the Center as a bridge, especially for men and women with
a history of incarceration.
“Without the Center for Urban Families, I don’t know where I would be,” Mr. McDaniels said.