LGC Global Economic Coalition (LEC). It was the day that eight men were honored at the first Employability Skills Program graduation ceremony. Nearly 100 people came out to support Setinmon Y. Briggs, Gary D. Davis, DiJon K. Frazier, Errand M. Kelsey Sr., Spencer A. Kinchen Jr., Andrew Love, Larry Wallace and Dennis White.

Under the direction of LEC Executive Director Madeline Hardgest and Program Manager and instructor Stan Nelson, these men completed four weeks of training designed to prepare them to enter the workforce. The program is especially significant because it serves men and women who have been incarcerated or have other issues that have prevented them from excelling in life.

Special guests on hand to congratulate and encourage the graduates included Detroit City Council members Barbara Rose-Collins and Alberta Tinsley-Talabi, who were later joined by City Council President Monica Conyers. Together they presented each graduate with a Spirit of Detroit award and posed for pictures with them.

Other special guests included Dr. Arthur Carter, Superintendent of the Highland Park School District, and keynote Judge Bruce Morrow, who presides over Detroit’s Circuit Court. Tom Hardiman also introduced a surprise speaker by the name of Yusef Shaker, who wrote the book “The Window 2 My Soul,” describing his journey from gang member to prison, where he first met his father. His story was unique and empowering as he explained how he became a college graduate and teacher with the help of his father.

Each of the eight graduates received their certificates and took a turn at the mic. They shared their personal experiences and hopes for the future while their wives, children, parents and friends looked on. They also expressed appreciation to Avinash Rachmale and Tom Hardiman for funding the program. With several other LES employees in attendance, the event ended with food and fellowship.