Welcome to the HabiCorps Kickoff!

Thank you for joining Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake in celebration of our annual HabiCorps Kickoff! We are in very different times and much has changed. What remains however, is the impact the next 10.5 months will have on the lives of twelve hard-working individuals. While COVID has altered our plans to hold an in-person event, we are excited to launch our Kick-Off via this virtual setting! Hear from our team, learn about the HabiCorps Workforce Development Program and how it works, hear from our incredible partners and most importantly meet the newest cohort of workforce development trainees who have made the life-changing decision to partner with us to bring people together to build homes, communities and hope.

Meet the trainees


“I chose this program to better myself my life and my loved ones and to bring the love back in the communities and the inner city the best way I can.”


“I am looking forward to taking what I’ve learned and making a difference in the up-keep of my neighborhood and surrounding communities.”


“I am looking forward to learning new skills that will help me advance in the construction industry.”


“I’m looking forward to the future and all the possibilities being a HabiCorps Trainee will bring. I would like to become a Brick Masonry and work in landscaping.”


“HabiCorps is it making is possible for my goals to come true. Life looked so bleak to me before HabiCorps and now it just gives me hope that anything is possible.”


“I chose to participate in this program to gain knowledge in the construction field. I hope to find a job that suits my new skillset and that I enjoy doing.”


“When I first started the program I wanted to build tiny homes for the homeless as well as flip houses. I would love to become a general contractor one day.”


 “I choose to participate in the HabiCorps program to better myself and learn new skills. The instructors want nothing but the best for us and you can feel their energy.”


“My goals for after this program are to work for a reputable construction company full time and build on my skills and study for my masters in either carpentry or electrical.”


“I chose to participate in the Habicorps program to gain financial stability and learn new skills for career advancement. I’m looking forward to opening up new opportunities for myself and loved ones.”


“I would like to have a better paying job either in construction or as a city home inspector. I dream of purchasing a piece of land and building my own house from scratch. HabiCorps gives me those skills.”


“I’m looking forward to starting my own business and perfecting my craft. My goal is to start my business and help build my own house maybe become an instructor for Habitat .”

Impact at a glance


months of training


Hours Served

From Our partners

“The challenging times we face call for resiliency, concern for others, and continued efforts to create better lives for everyone. The steps you are taking as members of the 2021 Habicorps training class will benefit you, your families, and our entire community. Congratulations for demonstrating these much needed qualities as members of Habicorps. All of us in the community wish you well.”

Bunting Family Foundation

“The long-standing partnership between Habicorp and ABC/Project JumpStart continues to produce the positive results both organizations seek to help change lives. It has been a pleasure to work with the HabiCorps team on workforce development issues as the passion for our combined mission is always the central focus. In these challenging times for all, but especially those in underserved communities, the great work that HabiCorps does is needed more than ever. We are looking forward to continuing and strengthening this critical partnership.”

Project JumpStart

“Congratulations to the Class of 2021 in taking this step to be a part of Habicorps. This program will help you build on your skills from JumpStart or other programs as you work towards a job in the trades which promises family supporting wages and opportunities for career growth. The Habitat family will support you in your journey – it is a great community that will both challenge and nurture you. We are proud to support Habicorps and to support this new cohort of trainees. Best of luck from the France-Merrick Foundation.”

France-Merrick Foundation

Service Beyond Measure

All HabiCorps Trainees are AmeriCorps service members that serve 1700 hours and earn a stipend and benefits while building Habitat homes that transform lives and underserved communities. HabiCorps would not be possible without the support of the Maryland Governor’s Office on Service & Volunteerism. 



Why we are different

What does being a HabiCorps Trainee mean to you?

“Baltimore is a great city as long as you stay on your path and your goals. But when your path gets diverted or you take a break, sometimes you can’t get back on that path again. HabiCorps is making is possible for my goals to come true.”

What does the path forward look like for you?

“Life looked so bleak to me before HabiCorps and now it just gives me hope that anything is possible. After I finish my training, I think I want to attend community college and study to become a master electrician or HVAC.

I have learned how to put in windows, lay concrete, how to put in insulation, drywall, and how every part of a house works with the other from heating to electrical to plumbing. In theory, I understand how an entire house is built in just a couple of months. I want to continue on with that.”

Our Newest Cohort

Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake adds Landscaping and Property Management as new feature of the HabiCorps Program.

At Habitat Chesapeake we recognize that the dream of a Habitat homebuyer isn’t much different than yours or mine when it comes to owning a home. A modest house in a safe neighborhood with green space nearby is a common goal.

Habitat’s mission is to bring this dream to life, but unfortunately not all greenspaces are created equal. Too often, the neighborhoods we work in include several vacant, overgrown lots. In fact, according to the Baltimore Department of Housing & Community Development, there are more than 14,000 vacant lots in Baltimore City. And, with more than 16,000 vacant buildings – many slated for demolition – there are sure to be more. Beyond being eyesores, ill-maintained lots bring down property values and are public health and safety risks as they often become sites for illegal dumping and can attract criminal activity.

HabiCorps landscape design and maintenance of Habitat properties and nearby green spaces, will amplify Habitat’s impact in underserved communities. Enhanced landscaping, streetscaping and beautification projects have long been proven to inspire additional investments, improve property values and foster civic pride.

Using our own open lot properties and nearby green spaces as classrooms, HabiCorps trainees are learning about landscaping tools, techniques and best practices from one of the region’s industry leaders, Live Green Landscape Associates, LLC. Live Green has designed a curriculum and handbook especially for HabiCorps and are generously providing in-kind products and support on-site education to tackle vacant lot greening projects and improve the quality of life for Habitat partner families and neighbors alike.

The partnership is the ultimate win-win: providing hands-on training and experience for individuals who want and need jobs while bringing tangible investment to underserved neighborhoods. Thank you, Live Green, and our new HabiCorps landscaping track trainees, for building cleaner, greener communities where families can grow and thrive!






How We Work

HabiCorps began as an effort to support local communities, strengthen our organization and address needs in the construction industry simultaneously. We saw that many of the communities we worked in needed more job training and employment opportunities and quickly realized that Habitat was in a unique position to provide them offering a wide range of hands-on training opportunities in an increasingly understaffed, yet well-paying industry. With funding from the Governor’s Office of Service and Volunteerism, and crucial support from Aerotek, an Allegis Group company and the Skip Viragh Family Foundation, HabiCorps was born.

Financial support assists with operating costs and an emergency fund for trainees, providing financial assisstance to trainees experiencing extreme hardship.

We thank the key supporters who have made this possible, including Aerotek, the France-Merrick Foundation, the Middendorf Foundation, the Maryland State Department of Housing and Community Development, the Henry and Ruth Blaustein Rosenberg Foundation, and the Bunting Family Foundation.


  • Private Foundations – 48%
  • Corporations – 24%
  • Public Grants – 28%




Meet a graduate!

HabiCorps can be life changing for Trainees. Unlike many job training programs have sprung up over the past few years, HabiCorps is unique in that it is longer than most and offers much-needed pay and benefits. Additionally, the program offers case management support, job placement assistance, and – perhaps most importantly – the opportunity to learn while doing meaningful work, building homes for families in need and transforming communities that need investment. HabiCorps Alumni David would agree and since graduating from the program his life has changed for the better:

“HabiCorps Alumni David “My participation in HabiCorps truly impacted my life. It gave me a career and taught me how to structure my life in a way that works best for me. I now have a life-long skillset. I’ve met some great people with kind hearts who were willing to (and ultimately did) help me as much as possible through many situations.

I appreciate HabiCorps for helping me to obtain a career job with Leonard A. Kraus Co. So far I’ve been an employee for 15 months.

My advice for new trainees  would be to not take HabiCorps program for granted – you would only be robbing yourself. Lean into the program and be open so they can help you to get out of your own way. HabiCorps will help you make a better you today, than you were yesterday so you will be great you tomorrow.”

“Phillips Charitable Foundation is honored to support Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake and the HabiCorps Workforce Development Program. We wish the incoming class of 2021 much success!”

Phillips Charitable Foundation

“Through the years, Middendorf Foundation has been pleased to support HabiCorps. Your work is a winning combination of both teaching important construction skills as well as expanding the availability of housing for low-income families.”

Middendorf Foundation

Thank you Aerotek!

Lead sponsor Aerotek has played a key role in supporting HabiCorps. Not only has Aerotek, one of the nation’s leading staffing firms, guided trainees through resume writing and interview preparation but has generously committed $175,000 to the program! 

“On behalf of Aerotek, I want to congratulate all the individuals who were selected to be part of the 2021 Habicorps program! This is an incredible opportunity to gain valuable, hands-on training and experience that will help prepare you for the next step in your career, while making an impact in your community. I look forward to seeing your journey through this program and am confident this group of talented individuals will accomplish so much. Congratulations and best wishes for a rewarding future!”

Kelly Martin, Regional Vice President, Aerotek/Allegis





Breaking New Ground

HabiCorps Trainees lead the charge of the rehabilitation of 16 homes in East Baltimore’s Milton-Montford.

This year, Habitat Chesapeake is excited to extend our impact even further in the area just north of Patterson Park. Located in East Baltimore’s Milton-Montford neighborhood, the project was launched by the Historic East Baltimore Community Action Coalition (HEBCAC) which approached us as a partner to amplify impact and ensure the neighborhood is diverse and mixed-income long-term.

Beyond the dozens of colorful, energy-efficient homes HEBCAC has already renovated, the neighborhood is home to ample green space, a rain garden, nonprofit organization Movable Feast and partners like John Hopkins University and the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, which recently transformed Henderson-Hopkins Elementary/Middle School into a state-of- the-art learning center just a few blocks away.

Leading the charge on this project is our new class of HabiCorps Workforce Development Trainees who will work alongside volunteers as they learn framing, flooring, insulation and drywall and other skills.

The construction industry as a whole is experiencing labor shortages and HabiCorps is creating a pipeline of skilled workers, while offering a second chance to hard working individuals.

Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake is eager to continue work in Milton-Montford and on the expansion of HabiCorps to transform many more lives and communities!
















why we are different

What does being a HabiCorps Trainee mean to you?

“The HabiCorps Program is a family and I like how they look out for you. I enjoy the training and I’ve learned so much from all our instructors. It feels good to actually learn a skill and have people there to push and teach you to be professional while making sure you understand. Thank you for believing in me.”

What does the path forward look like for you?

“After I graduate from the program I would like to get a job with the City dealing with housing. I want to help with fixing up or rehabbing houses that are abandoned. I also want to further my career and study architecture learn how to design buildings. My dream is to design my own building, a boutique/beauty salon.”

The americorps experience

In partnership with local Habitat organizations, Habitat for Humanity places AmeriCorps members to serve in a variety of roles to increase Habitat’s ability to build homes, expand services, engage the community and partner with people. This year we are happy to welcome Brandon to our team! 

“I became an AmeriCorps member to further my knowledge about non-profits and to help out the local community. I am originally from Annapolis and with Baltimore so close, I wanted to give back to the community. I am looking forward to finishing a house and working along side homeowners and volunteers.” 

Brandon, AmeriCorps Service Member



From Our instructors

“I support HabiCorps because it gives people who have had a rough run in life a second chance. This program shows that there are a lot of good people, who deserve a second chance. It also give others a way to learn a life long trade. And is a good way to help new high school graduates have another option other than college. To the members of this term I would like to say that you’re on the right path and you’re going to go far with everything you do in this program and after it.”

Gary Mitchell

HabiCorps Instructor

“I want to congratulate all the trainees – new and returning. I’m excited to have two women on my team to train in construction this year and am looking forward to another great and successful year.”

Leroy 'EZ' Smith

HabiCorps Instructor

“Working with an amazing Habitat team, capable volunteers and eager HabiCorps trainees to build safe, decent and affordable housing for families in need has been a truly rewarding experience.”

Rick Campbell

HabiCorps Instructor

“I am super excited that so many of our members from last term are returning this year to continue to serve and gain the experience that wasn’t completely possible last year due to Covid. I am hopeful that we will be able to provide them a full experience unimpacted by the pandemic and they will be well positioned for success in the trades industry next summer. I am equally excited to welcome the new members and merge their energy and enthusiasm with the returning members to have a fun, educational and productive service year building safe and affordable housing for Baltimore families in need. We are going to have a great year!”

Kristen Sheppy

HabiCorps Program Manager

Interested in HabiCorps?
Contact us!

Interested in learning more about the HabiCorps Workforce Development Program or know of a hardworking individual who may be a good fit? Please contact               Kristen Sheppy, HabiCorps Program Manager at ksheppy@habitatchesapeake.org or call 410-366-1250.