DETROIT (WJBK) - They used to watch as contractors from all over the metro area came in to help rebuild homes in Detroit - until now.
An architecture developer decided to start hiring Detroiters who need a second shot at life. The idea is taking off and helping these men make a living while getting back their pride.
"To be able to rebuild it is like a blessing," said Antonio Scales. "Because I was one of the ones who helped tear the city down, I sold drugs on the street, got into shoot outs and got into all kinds of trouble."
Life has been tough. Filled with crime and drugs, today changing the direction. More than a dozen men walking the streets in Detroit hungry for a meal and an opportunity, were hired by Joe Ventimiglia.
He owns his own architectural company called Acacia Drewno. FOX 2 first met Ventimiglia at Grand Blvd where he helped re do a woman's home that was a part of a block of homes bought up by Detroit Land Bank.
The workers given the contract were all men who lived in the neighborhood. Ventimiglia trained them and gave them jobs that pay a decent wage.
"There's thousands of people in the city that have the capabilities and we have to give them a chance," he said. "There are two factors, number one every man has a skill, and every man has pride. When you can marry the two together it's incredible."
On Monday his company is working on several projects in the city. A house off of Mack in Detroit was bought by a New Yorker. The men doing the work live nearby and now have work-rebuilding part of the city and their own lives.
"It's good to have this opportunity. It makes me to do better for myself," said Jermaine Moore. "I come from a troubled past so I am trying to change my life and get on the right track. This is a perfect stepping stone."
FOX 2: "You're not done with this. Is there bigger plan in the works?"
"I plan on Immediately opening a trade school," Ventimiglia said. "It's going to be called The Detroit Building Academy and everyone who works for me is going to work 38 hours in the field and then go to school for 12 hours a week.
"They're going to migrate to the point of being able to get any job anywhere licensed. There are 27 trades that I want to teach these gentlemen."
"To actually work for my money, you do cherish the dollar," said Scales. "You know the value of the dollar."
For anyone that wants to know more information, contact Joe Ventimiglia at email@example.com.