For some, JobTrain is as much of a last resort as it is a new beginning.
For Christopher G., it was a unique combination of both. After spending most of his adult life in prison, he had an opportunity to start a brand new life. Chris entered prison as an 18 year-old youth culpable of many poor decisions. When he was released, he emerged as a 33 year-old man with a vision to pursue a purposeful life.
He left the Texas penitentiary bound for California to be reunited with relatives. He thought it would be difficult to learn a new trade and to find a job - but, he never thought it would be impossible.
After several months of looking for work, Chris became discouraged and depressed. It seemed that no one would hire a convicted felon or simply give him a chance to prove his worth.
Chris wanted to find employment on his own and shunned any type of perceivable hand-out. However, when he was down to his last few dollars, he realized he had to re-evaluate his plan of action. Chris registered with the State Unemployment Office. His EDD counselor told him, "Son, you need a blue collar job. I want you to go to JobTrain, they'll give you the tools you need to start on the right path. Trust me, JobTrain will put you on the right path. But, only you can pave the way to the future that you want."
Chris enrolled in JobTrain's construction program, Project Build. He immediately impressed the instructor with his solid work ethic and commitment to helping his fellow classmates. He also distinguished himself at the JobTrain Trainee of the Month assemblies where he repeatedly won perfect attendance awards. In September 2009, he received the coveted Trainee of the Month award, bestowed upon him for his strong construction acumen, professional demeanor and indisputable work ethic.
Chris completed his Project Build training in December 2009. However, he further distinguished himself by speaking at the January 2010 graduation ceremony. Chris spoke poignantly about his life experiences before discovering JobTrain. He was both honest and straightforward and made absolutely no excuses for the choices made during his youth.
In recognition of Chris' criminal background and 15 years of incarceration, he's been transformed through JobTrain. The combination of vocational training and life skills management - have both impacted and enriched his life.
In a letter to JobTrain supporters, Chris wrote: "Going to JobTrain is one of the only right choices I am proud of in my life this far. JobTrain is a light in my future that has made me let go of a dark and gloomy past. JobTrain has given me a life where I can give back to society and be a productive citizen. JobTrain is a place for hope, a place for learning and in my case - a place where if you hit rock bottom, they will lift your spirits and help you build a better foundation to reach your goals."
Chris was recently hired by Union 389 and will be working in partnership with Mountain Cascades on a special piping project running from San Francisco through Palo Alto.