After losing his dream job working under a Michelin-star chef, Danny Braddy of Mecklenburg knew that he needed to find new opportunities to provide for his wife and child. After connecting with Men of Destiny, he completed the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)-10 certification and began heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) and facilities maintenance training. He shared that after becoming unemployed during the pandemic, it was hard to imagine doing anything other than what he was used to. However, Men of Destiny opened his eyes to new opportunities and avenues to provide for his family. He shared that although his current work feels like “a 360” from his culinary studies, he’s excited to this opportunity to “start at the bottom, learn as much as he can, and use each opportunity as a steppingstone.”
Throughout the Career Accelerator Program (CAP), Felix learned new skills and how to use tools he previously worked with. He took these challenges as an opportunity to cultivate a new skillset, asking both his supervisor and instructor for more information and opportunities to practice so that he could strengthen and solidify the new skills he was learning. As a result of his resilience, he secured a position as an engineering technician at AKG North American. His future plans include going back to school to earn a BA in electrical engineering.
Despite living in North Carolina his entire life and considering the United States home, Felix is not considered a state “resident” due to being a DACA recipient. This stood in the way of receiving in-state tuition, scholarships, financial aid, and being able to earn an affordable education after high school. Because CAP does not have a residency requirement, he was able to “get a job, education, certificate, and career experience all in one package.” He shared that his motivation for continuing in the program and excelling was to work just as hard, or harder, to provide for himself as his parents who have made lots of sacrifices coming to the United States.
Diamond, from Wayne County, enrolled in the WIOA and earned her GED from Wayne Community College while also working for the city of Goldsboro and Literacy Connections of Wayne County. Throughout this process, she preserved through obstacles and self-doubt because she wanted more for herself. Diamond shared with us that she is incredibly grateful to Ms. Shaquita Hatcher, Next Generation Career Advisor of Wayne Community College, who helped her every step of the way.
Her ultimate goal is to own a successful business. She shared that when facing hardships in the program, she persisted because she knew that earning her GED and completing a work experience would pay off, and, if she quit, she would never know what she was capable of achieving.
Genesis, from Mecklenburg, shared that he is grateful to Central Piedmont Community College for providing financial support for the equipment needed for his welding class, a skill that he has become very passionate about. His engagement and enthusiasm to learn the trade has led him to a position as a lab facilitator, operating machinery, helping other students, and completing repairs.
After being connected to the WOIA program by the Achieve HIGHTS! Team, Courtney completed a work experience at a local law firm while also working towards her GED. She was extended a position at the firm, where she worked until she graduated. Now, she’s able to work from home as a non-medical transport call center, serves as a public notary, and plans to go to college for business administration and legal administration.
She shared that after being out of school for eight years and being told earning her diploma would be impossible, she had no intention of going back to school. But, she is so glad that she did, and hopes her story will help ease the nerves of other young people who may be in a similar position.