About Us.

Every Individual Deserves A Fair and Equal Opportunity.

Our History

Over The Years...

Trading Jail for Jobs started out as a Construction Union Pre-Apprenticeship/Criminal Reform Program that was originally named Trading Hammers for Hammers Program. In 2019, Divine Shabazz was a real estate agent under a Real Estate Brokerage in East Flatbush Brooklyn. Divine was also a full time Union member in the Cement and Concrete Laborers Union. Real Estate work was a part time gig for him. Every year when his Union opened their books for new Apprentices , he would create flyers and hand them out to everyone he knew knew on the streets and all the guys in the parole building waiting to see their parole officers. People would contact him for more information and guidance on how to join the Apprenticeship. Divine would advise and coach guys through the process. Sometimes guys would get in based on his advice and guidance. His Real Estate Broker at the time had significant experience doing non profit work in the past. When she seen the work Divine was doing on his personal time ,she offered to help him out. Together they built and formed this work into a formal Pre-Apprenticeship Program. Darrin Fernández was a friend of Divine. They both worked in the field together. Darrin had a history of running the streets and changed his life after joining a construction union. Divine invited Darrin on to a YouTube channel to interview him about his life story. Darrin became a big supporter of the program after that interview. He went on to become Assistant Program Director. Lending his time and resources to carry out the mission of the program.


To give back and pay forward our blessings to the same communities that we once plagued and destroyed.


We aim to stop recidivism, crime, and poverty by providing economic empowerment through education and opportunity, as well as personal life coaching from experienced , productive and successful staff who were mostly all formerly incarcerated.


We aim to use construction as a vehicle to help the formerly incarcerated and other disadvantaged populations create a living for themselves or to use as a stepping stone to achieve other goals and dreams

Pivotal To Our Program

Darrin Fernández

Darrin Fernández is the Assistant Program Director for Trading Jail for Jobs. He is better known in the construction industry as D - Block. He is a member of Local 6A of the Cement and Concrete Workers Laborers Union for the last 35 years. He has been a General Foreman for a concrete company , has worked as a Stripping Foreman for several Concrete companies in our Union. He is currently a Stripping Foreman, a class Instructor at the Cement and Concrete Workers Apprenticeship Training school. He also owns a Construction Safety Management company and is an Authorized OSHA Instructor. Darrin was raised in Bronx NY, where as a young man he used to run the streets as a hustler where he fell victim to incarceration. After joining a construction union he has gradually made significant changes in his life and lives a safe and productive life. Today he owns a home and lives with his fiance in New Jersey

Divine Shabazz

Divine Shabazz is the founder of Trading Jail for Jobs. He was once formerly incarcerated. He has served fourteen years in prison and has four felony convictions. In 2006 , he joined Local 18 A of the Cement and Concrete Workers Laborers Union as an apprentice. In 2019 , he stopped working in the field to pursue a career in Construction Safety Management. He started his own safety company and began working for himself as a safety manager and OSHA Instructor. He is also a licensed real estate agent and landlord. He is still a Local 18A union member. He is married with two teenage children and lives in Brooklyn, New York .

Executive BOD

Norman Bailey, William Skeeters, Divine Shabazz

Our Latest Work!