By Cindy Hsu

PATERSON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — There’s new hope for people looking to improve their lives. A free program in Paterson, New Jersey is teaching them all about construction.

As CBS2’s Cindy Hsu reported Friday, the goal is to build futures and community.

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Welcome to the Servant’s Heart Ministry Workmanship Program, where students meet twice a week for 13 weeks.

“They learn what a drill is and how to use an impact drill and how to use [saws],” said John Oostdyk.

Classes are taught by local professionals and the training is free. The program even supplies students with the things they need, from work boots to tools.

They’re looking for students at least 18 years old who are driven toward construction.

“They get excited when they smell wood. They get excited when they see pipe on the ground. They think they could be a plumber or an electrician,” said Oostdyk. “We’re also looking for people that potentially are working, that have a little bit of a drive, they’re not just sitting around waiting for something coming their way because the reality is construction is hard work.”

It’s also a field where it’s hard to find enough workers for all the jobs.

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Gamar Virgin recently graduated from the program and has a beautiful wife and baby at home.

“I feel great because now I can provide for my family more because there’s always jobs around now with construction,” Virgin said. “I was at a point where I didn’t know where, exactly where I was going. Now God led me in this direction so, I’m going with it.”

Servant’s Heart runs the program and volunteers to help other nonprofits in the area work on construction projects. Hsu caught up with them renovating a house homeless men.

Andres Taveras is three weeks into the program and says working on meaningful projects makes all the difference.

“It’s giving me skills that I think are valuable throughout life. I think it helps me personally. I’m able to help others. I think the skills I’m learning are always going to be needed. I think that changes my life drastically. It gives me a lot of purpose. I know that I’m helping people,” Taveras said.

The next round of classes starts at the end of January, but applications are already being accepted.

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If you’re interested in applying for the program or looking for more information, click here.

Cindy Hsu