Bronx Man Help Prepare Others with Troubled Pasts for Green Jobs

Bronx native Sean Brailsford got off to a rough start. After dropping out of high school, he quickly became caught up in conflicts that led to a criminal record, which made it tough for him to find work.

But in the spring of 2011, things turned around. One of Brailsford’s longtime friends, who had recently been released from prison, told him about a training program he was attending at The Osborne Association/Green Career Center . The energy and excitement his friend expressed about the green job training program was contagious. Brailsford decided to apply for the program.

“I didn’t know what to expect from GCC,” he says. “Training for formerly incarcerated individuals was something I’d never heard of or knew existed in my borough. After getting a feel for what the full program was about, I decided to take as many classes and courses that were available to me.”

Brailsford’s initial six weeks of training turned into five months of classes and courses, learning about green jobs and green industries. He stood out as a leader and did so well in the program that he was offered a full-time job as a Program Assistant working in the Green Career Center. Today, he works as a Career Coach/Job Readiness Instructor for The Osborne Association/Justice Community Program, where he teaches others the same courses and classes he once took himself.

Since being employed at The Osborne Association, Brailsford has obtained a certificate in conflict resolution and mediation. He also earned college credit and certification through Louisiana State University in moral reconation therapy, which focuses on reducing recidivism among juvenile and adult offenders by deepening their moral reasoning. He’s also trained as an instructor in the ROOTS of Success environmental literacy curriculum. Finally, he earned a certification in trauma-informed care, which focuses on understanding the challenges of people who’ve experienced trauma—like those who witness violence—and using that understanding to better help them succeed in substance abuse recovery and job training programs.

Brailsford says that coming to work everyday is a joy.

“I do not think I would be doing this work that I love, in serving individuals that are formerly incarcerated, or have criminal court involvement, without The Osborne Association/ Green Career Center’s help,” he says. “GCC opened me up to a world that I knew existed somewhere, but didn’t know it was right under my nose. For that, I say thank you to all of those who had something to do with my GCC endeavors and accomplishments.”

When asked what he would say to policymakers about the value of job training programs like his, he says: “Speak to our participants before they start our program, listen to their stories. After they’ve completed the training, speak to them again to see how they’ve grown. This program gives them hope that they can be more than what they are right now.”