From Homelessness to Leadership


Mark Shepard (far left) at the Center for Employment Training Graduation

“I was homeless and sleeping under the bridge.”

Before Mark heard about SOME’s Center for Employment Training (CET) job training program, he was homeless. Now Mark is in a supervisor position with the Franklin Johnston Group, a development company.

Mark’s mom was murdered when he was five years old and he grew up sexually and phyisically abused. Because of his rough upbringing, he lost good jobs due to his anger and unforgiveness in his heart. While Mark was in the men’s shelter at Central Union Mission on 14th and R, he heard about SOME from someone who had previously went through the CET program. He went on to say that finding the CET program was the best thing that had ever happened to him.

“All I had to do was call and enroll. It was a fairly easy process.” said Mark.

Mark explained how close everybody was at CET: “I was dealing with personal trauma from abuse growing up and being homeless so I didnt trust people. I wouldn’t let my guard down but Emily (Price, Director at CET) wouldn’t let me shy away. She was like my mom in the program because she made sure I was ok and checked on me to see if I was dealing with anything. She got me connected to a therapist for my anger and I finally felt relief.”

Mark graduated from the building maintenence service technician program in March of 2012. He said that CET prepared him for the supervisor position that he is in now. “CET prepared me because I had basic maintenence skills and HVAC training. To be a supervisor is 20% what you know and 80% of having courage and leadership skills. Step in and actually do it and thats what I learned from SOME, to step up and take control. They taught us how to step up and rewrite our story and who we are.”


“For anybody that may read this, understand that if you are looking for a skill or a life changing opportunity, you can get it at SOME. They can get technical skills and the other career dev skills that will go hand in hand with changing their life. They have the pen and paper to change the narrative and their life. You can go anywhere but there’s no program like CET.” 

Mark is now going full time into motivational speaking to build and help people gain courage and understanding the same way it was given to him. His schedule is already filling up as he is speaking to the Department of Unemployment Services next month.

The CET program helps hundreds of people get back on their feet each year and reverse the cycle of poverty and homelessness. SOME Center for Employment Training provides hands-on training to prepare individuals for careers as Medical Administrative Assistants and Building Maintenance Service Technicians. Students earn occupational credentials and certifications. The CET registration process is very straightforward: You must be over 18 years of age, have a goverment issued ID, social security/official documentation, drug-free, and have a negative TB test within the past 12 months. You must also take a math and reading assesment.  Learn more about SOME's Center for Employment Training.