Cut Above the Rest Program Graduates Eighth Class

IMG_8733The newest class of 2016 is not your typical group of graduates. Instead of caps and gowns, these students walked across the stage in hard hats. Thanks to the Cut Above the Rest Training Facility, former inmates get a second chance at life.

Co-founder Melinda Ricketts understands what these one-time inmates are going through.

“I have 26 years experience as a software engineer,” Ricketts explains. “I’m originally from Huntsville, I worked for Boeing Aerospace and I had a very good job. And then a drug addiction took me down, and took me to prison.”

After getting her life together again and starting a business, she and her business partner wanted to pay it forward. Jaunida Pitts is Ricketts’ partner and was once in jail as well. They both want to give their students an option they never had.

“God put it on our heart that we had to give back to the brothers and sisters, as we call them, that we left in prison,” Ricketts says.

“We teach the core curriculum, of NCCER, National Center of Construction Education and Research,” says Pitts. “And they become NCCER certified after our program, and it helps them to be able to find a job.”

This is the eighth class to come through Pitts and Ricketts’ doors, and includes James Mack. Mack and his fellow classmates will have a higher certification than most of the people applying for their jobs.

“It’s limitless what we done learned, you know?” Mack says. “It’s everything to me, cause I feel like this is my last shot, you know what I mean? So this is everything to me.”

Just because this glass is not wearing the traditional attire, does not mean their future is any less bright than other graduate’s.

“My students never actually leave, even after they graduate,” Pitts says. “They always tell me how much they appreciate what we’ve done for them. That they would be homeless and without a job if it was not for this program.”

To apply to the Cut Above the Rest Program, click here. To hire one of the new graduates, call Juanida Pitts at (256) 690-4784.

Categories: Montgomery