Before the HCST program Crystal was working 12 hours a night at a company with no chance of advancement. She was constantly pinching pennies and worried about making ends meet. Life was hard. Crystal was told about the program from a friend who graduated from the Highway Construction Skills Training program. After hearing the great success it got her friend, she believed that she could find success, too.
Crystal enrolled in our HCST program to better herself and her chances at a new career. But it wasn’t as easy as she thought. Her work and class schedule was the biggest challenge she had to tackle. She was working full time, at night and going to her HCST class during the day. She spent any free time she had sleeping. She was exhausted.
On top of a busy schedule, there was a lot of traveling. The HCST class that we were currently offering was in Madison, but Crystal worked and lived in another city. She could have waited to join the next class that was closer to her, but she wanted to make sure she could graduate at the beginning of the work season when more jobs were available.
Another challenge she faced was public speaking. One of the class requirements was to participate in class discussions, and she dreaded talking in front of people. It can be hard enough to talk with strangers, but talking in front of the class felt even worse. Thankfully, Crystal had her HCST Program Coordinator, Lorie, to help ease her anxiety. “My favorite thing about the HCST program would have to be the way Lorie handles the class. Everyone learns differently. Everyone has different needs,” said Crystal. “Lorie always offered a warm and inviting place to learn. I really appreciated how easy it was to open up to her about my situation. I know others did, too.”
With Lorie cheering her on, Crystal graduated the HCST program just in time for the beginning of the construction work season. With so many opportunities and choices that she didn’t have before, she felt even better about her future. Becoming a bold and strong advocate for herself wasn’t on her agenda but that is what has happened. As Crystal gained more confidence in herself, she not only found more opportunities, but had the courage to seek them out.
“Honestly, when I enrolled in the program, my goal was just to complete the program. I thought that would be enough,” says Crystal. “Now, because of the knowledge I gained from the program, my goal is to be an operating engineer!”
Crystal has now started a new job that allows her to have the great work/life balance she’s always dreamed of. She feels that she’s “no longer working my life away – I didn’t even know that was possible!” This new job means everything to her. Even though it can be a bit intimidating, she’s learning so much in the short time she’s been with her new company.
Congratulations, Crystal! We’re proud of you and hope you continue to build your future!
Want a restart on life and a new career? Learn more about our Highway Construction Skills Training program!