Program allows people to turn in guns for free job training

CLEVELAND (WEWS/CNN) - A Cleveland organization is offering job training to people who turn in an unloaded gun.

The Building Futures program is changing lives and giving people hope for a brighter future.

When you hear the phrase "positive vibes only," think of Terrence Barnes.

"I'm very proud of myself, yes, yes I am," said Barnes.

He spent 14 years in prison and just got out in April of last year.

"The whole world changed," said Terrence Barnes. "I'm still learning how to use a cellphone. I just had previously learned how to text, so everything is new. The whole world is new, but to me, I look at it like it's a challenge."

It was a challenge Barnes took on headfirst.

Wilson Jones is a job trainer with the Union Miles Development Corporation.

"All you have to do is open up to find a person's passion," Jones said.

Barnes is one of seven men who graduated from the first class of the innovative new program.

"It worked. That's what surprised people, it worked. A lot of people said, 'No, it's not going to work,' but, again, I'm saying, if you give people hope, they will accelerate in life," Jones said.

The program consists of six months of hands-on job training teaching skills like plumbing, electric, carpentry, and construction. It's completely free.

The next class allowing people to trade in an unloaded gun, no questions asked to receive the training.

All of the students have hiccups in their pasts.

"You make errors in life, and there's no one to give you something and say, OKAY, you made a mistake, let's correct your mistake," Jones said. "It's that some people say, 'Well, you made this mistake and you're always going to be a mistake," but, no, we're here to give hope."

That hope it helps.

All seven men in the program ranging in age from 23 to 63 now have steady jobs.

The vacant home they rehabbed now has a family living in it.

"Very proud," Jones said. "I'm ecstatic. I'm just ecstatic. I'm really ecstatic."

The next class of this program starts on Sept. 6. They're taking 15 students this time around.

"It's a life-changing experience because these are skills that you can carry for the rest of your life," Barnes said.

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