Partner Spotlight: Career Development and Placement Strategies

The Cuyahoga Land Bank works with a variety of contractors in fulfilling our mission of returning properties to productive use. Case in point: A recent remarkable renovation of a home on Churchill Avenue in Cleveland’s Glenville neighborhood, carried out by a team from Career Development and Placement Strategies, Inc. (CDPS).

The non-profit organization provides workforce and personal development programs designed to serve individuals by promoting skills and developing new ones.  CDPS serves the currently employed, unemployed, downsized, underemployed, and formerly incarcerated individuals. The group’s Carpentry and Building Trades Training program provides classroom and hands-on training designed to introduce participants to the core group of skills in framing, material selection and handling, drywall construction and finishing. Certified trade instruction prepares students with the skills necessary for entry to mid-level jobs in the construction trades. After training, those who are eligible, go to work with Associated Builders and Contractors, a national construction industry trade association.

Since 2010, the Cuyahoga Land Bank has partnered with CDPS on renovation projects at properties throughout Cuyahoga County. Maurice Stevens, Founder and Principal at CDPS in Cleveland, says the partnership with the Cuyahoga Land Bank is a perfect fit. “We have a great group of students who want to learn, and renovating homes in all levels of disrepair is a great opportunity to put those developing skills to work.”

“CDPS renovates one or two Cuyahoga Land Bank properties a year,” says Dennis Roberts, Director of Programs and Property Management, totaling more than seven since 2010. “We pride ourselves on quality renovations, and the folks at CDPS have never disappointed.”

The house on Churchill Avenue was a complete remodel, offering CDPS program participants a full range of experience. “We renovated everything from the basement to the attic,” says Stevens. Work included placing new drywall, new floors, a new driveway and garage, and a complete rebuild of the stairway to the back door.

At 66 years old, Anthony McGill isn’t a typical CDPS training participant. But after several years in retirement after 25-plus years of construction experience, he found himself needing to return to work. “CDPS helped me get back into the workforce,” says McGill. “Much of the training was a refresher for me, but it helped me to learn how to sell myself to employers and properly present my employment background, which was very helpful.”

McGill, who rebuilt the stairs at the Churchill Avenue property, takes great pride in his work. “When you see the end result, it makes you feel good that you were a part of it.”

CDPS crews are already hard at work renovating another Cuyahoga Land Bank property in Cleveland’s West Park neighborhood.

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