The inmates have been taking classes twice a week and work at a training center in Chesapeake three times a week, the television station reported.
"This is special. These guys have worked so hard to be here," Beno Rubin, director of the Regional Automotive Center, told WAVY. "They have matured and grown as technicians, as students, as people."
The new graduates will be hired on as full-time technicians at one of 14 cooperating area dealerships, WTKR reported.
"A guy in my situation, normally, when I'm re-entering back into society, my opportunities are few, so this right here is a golden opportunity to have a viable career, so it really gets no better than that," inmate Damion Britt told the television station.
According to Norfolk Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Michael O’Toole, getting back into society can be a roadblock for inmates.
"One of the biggest hurdles we see is getting a job. If we can get them a job and be successful, we don't see them coming back," O'Toole told WAVY.
Lee agrees that a fresh start is important.
"If they check the felony box on the application, don't just look at them as a felony. Look at them as a possible CEO or maybe the next mechanic or next manager of your business," Lee told WAVY. "Everybody deserves a second chance."