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July 5, 2013

CONTACT: Peter Van Delft
(617) 704-6682


Suffolk County Sheriff Steven W. Tompkins (center) welcomed developer John B. Cruz (front row, third from left) to tour the Department’s vocational education program, the Common Ground Institute. Cruz was joined by manager Chris Sonnie (second row, behind Cruz), Department members Kelly MacDonald, Dennis Guilfoyle, Superintendent of the House of Correction Yolanda Smith, John D’Amore, Alan Spencer and the CGI class.

Suffolk County Sheriff Steven W. Tompkins invited the owner of John B. Cruz Construction Co. to the Suffolk County House of Correction to observe the Department’s vocational education program, the Common Ground Institute.

The Common Ground Institute (CGI) is a 10–week instructional program that is designed to enhance and fortify employment skills that aid the prison population of Suffolk County in making a successful transition back into society post–incarceration. With the CGI program, the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department has taken a proactive approach to reducing recidivism, in part, by placing an emphasis on vocational education, which includes the teaching of skills in carpentry, custodial maintenance, painting and landscaping, among others.

Arriving with Manager Chris Sonnie, John Cruz toured the workshop with Sheriff Tompkins and watched members of one CGI class as they applied joint compound to drywall that they had previously hung to prepare it for painting.

During his visit, Cruz spoke to the CGI class about embracing the opportunities that will potentially be created by the skills they’ve acquired through the Department.

“Construction is a great field to be in,” Cruz told the class. “You don’t need a college education to do it, but you do have to develop the skills that you’re learning here. It’s not easy – you have to work at it – but there are opportunities out there. It’s an open field.”

One of the oldest and largest minority owned companies in Massachusetts, John B. Cruz Co. Inc. specializes in housing development, residential management, and general construction providing services throughout the northeast region of the United States. It offers services, such as commercial/residential construction, estimating/administration as well as architectural, structural and civil value engineering. John B. Cruz Construction Co. Inc. has contributed to projects, including The Fortress, MBRI – Boston Biotech, Boston Police Department Headquarters, Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center and Prang House and Prang Estates.


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