Doug Kapustin for The Washington Post

Newly released after serving 21 years in Maryland prisons, Sean Howard may surprise some when they hear he believes his future looks bright.

He’s optimistic, appreciative and confident. That’s because while he was behind bars, he had worked to acquire the two most important ingredients for a successful reentry into society.

An education and a job.

“On my last day inside, I tied up my boots and hit the ground running,” said Howard, who was released in February.

He had discovered a passion for auto repair in prison shop class. Instructors recognized his exemplary attitude and work ethic and recommended him for enrollment in a nonprofit school for ex-offenders called Vehicles for Change.

Located on a 33,000-square-foot site just

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