ABC Contractors Partner to Inspire Students at Frederick Douglass High School


On Wednesday, January 30, construction groups hosted its first workforce development presentation for 30 high school students from Frederick Douglass High School in Baltimore City.

The focus of the presentation was to educate high school students on the career and education opportunities available in the construction industry.

Several guest speakers, including Michelle Butt, senior vice president of Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) of Baltimore; Kathy Humm with Harkins Builders; Charles Harper with Job Opportunities Task Force; Toemore Knight Project JumpStart graduate and foreman at TEI Electrical solutions; and Rod Bell, Frederick Douglass High School alum and Harkins Builders superintendent.

Toemore Knight spoke from the heart regarding his troubled past. Knight, who once struggled with drugs and was homeless, is now a gainfully employed electrician. He credits the remarkable change in his life to his Project JumpStart training.

Toemore also explained that being successful in construction, does not mean being the smartest person in the room. “If you have a positive attitude, show up on time, and are here to learn, then I want to hire you,” said Toemore Knight, current foreman at TEI Electrical Solutions.

Rod Bell, former Frederick Douglass High School student and current Harkins Builders superintendent, detailed his past as a student who was raised under adverse circumstances, but was hired as a laborer and worked his way to a superintendent role. He also received his college degree recently after 10-years in school.

Michelle Butt with ABC Baltimore explained the apprenticeship program and how students can apply right out of high school work and attend class, while being paid and without student loans.  

Kathy Humm with Harkins Builders told the students the opportunities that are available in construction for both men and women in the construction industry.

Looking for construction training? Look no further. ABC Baltimore is the #1 provider of construction training in the industry. Visit to learn more about the program. Visit to learn more about the 14-week pre-apprenticeship training program.

See pictures from the event here.

Thank you to all of the speakers who participated today, administration and Frederick Douglass High School and the students for their participation.