Juan Carlos has lived in San Jose his entire life. He says he “had a rough past, where I spent lots of time in the streets” and it had a detrimental impact on his life.
Last year, he decided to turn his life around. He got himself clean and earned his GED.
But he found himself jumping from job to job, working long hours but still not making enough to support himself. At one job – moving cars from one airport to another – he was required to show up every day, but if there was no work he didn’t get paid. When there was work, the hours were not fixed; sometimes he wouldn’t get home until 1 in the morning.
“I just wanted a job, but little did I know I was going to get a career.”
This was not what he wanted to be doing for the rest of his life, and he was looking for a change. So he enrolled in work2future, and while he was there, he saw a flyer for the Trades Orientation Program.
He did not know much about the trades, but he decided to give it a shot. At the time, he was hesitant because he was unsure if he was physically or mentally prepared for the program. He knew math was involved and he had always struggled with this subject. He says that he thought to himself, “You know what, it can’t be that hard, and even if it is, I tried.”
Once he had made his decision and enrolled in TOP, Juan says, he quickly got over his fears thanks to the support of the teacher and his fellow students in the class.
Juan recalls that he did not envision any career goals when he first joined TOP. But when he heard about openings in carpentry during a class field trip, he jumped at the opportunity.
He had heard that for some people, it had taken up to a year to enter the apprenticeship program, but TOP allowed him to fast track the process. Once he had completed the Trades Orientation Program, it was less than a week before he was starting a pre-apprenticeship program at the carpenters.
Juan says, “I don’t know what I would have been doing, if I hadn’t done TOP, but I wouldn’t be as happy as I am today. Honestly, I did not know I was going to have a career, I just wanted a job, but little did I know I was going to get a career. If someone is looking to change careers, and is interested in construction, they should give it a shot.”