BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A new state-of-the-art facility is trying to bridge the gap in the skilled trade industries and put people into well-paying jobs.

The Continuing Education Academy at ABC Greater Baltimore has already begun training, but Tuesday morning was the official opening day.

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Four years in the making, 30 different funding systems went into making this day a reality.

Governor Larry Hogan was there Tuesday as the organizations responsible for building the program were recognized for this tireless effort.

“This 25,000 square-foot facility will serve as a regional hub for apprenticeship training, continuing education and workforce development,” Gov. Hogan said.

Bryant Gorrell is a third-year HVAC instructor at the training facility and said as a kid he struggled with dyslexia and traditional learning methods but found his stride in the HVAC industry thanks to a trade program at Cecil County Community College. Now he works at the ABC Center part-time.

“I start to develop men that  I want to hire and give them a career, not just a job-something that they can embrace and love,” he said.

Once set up with the tools to be successful, Gorrell said his students prosper and go on to well-paying careers with benefits.

“If you can find that path for them, they’re successful on their own. You can’t stop them from being successful,” he said.

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State grants, tax credits, fundraising and donations all made the center possible. Employers can now send their employees to take classes or send apprentices to schooling a few nights a week.

One organization, Skillforce, helps those with criminal records start over. Ex-convicts are taught about trades and placed in jobs where they can earn good pay and full benefits.

Many private companies send their apprentices here for further education on their way to becoming a Journeyman.

Senator Cory McCray was a journeyman electrician before becoming a politician.

“I know that these opportunities are going to be even more accessible to the young men and women who are in K-12 at this moment right now and I say thank you thank you thank you,” he said.

The center has 11 classrooms, seven labs and endless networking opportunities.

To get involved attend one of their open houses, posted at https://www.abcbaltimore.org/

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Or email chadfield@abcbaltimore.org or jstewrat@projectjumpstarttraining.org

Rachael Cardin