“Nothing can get finished if you aren’t willing to talk,” says DeRon, when asked for his key to success. He recently graduated from our Highway Construction Skills Training (HCST) program and found a great job soon after. His story shows that keeping focused and talking through hard times can turn a tough situation into a great opportunity.
Building a Positive Perspective
“Life wasn’t that easy for DeRon, but he never seemed to allow it to control his attitude or perceptions,” says Lorie, our SW HCST Coordinator. Lorie teaches HCST, a six-week course in construction designed to help people start successful careers in the industry. Lorie came to know DeRon well during their class and says that instead of letting life defeat him, DeRon “took those struggles and used them to motivate himself.”
Among the challenges, DeRon was unemployed and financially unstable. He realized that this was a bad situation that he could change, however, given the chance. So when he learned about free training through HCST, he jumped at it.
“My goal was to get into construction and to start making money, while building a career option,” he says about starting the class. That kind of commitment was new to DeRon. In his words, “That’s something I’ve never done before. I wanted to have things that others had, which it seemed like they took for granted. I wanted things to come easier for me and not have to struggle to get everything I needed or wanted.”
DeRon pushed himself to show up for class each day, do the work, and talk or ask whenever he had question about something. Instead of feeling pressured by the coursework, however, he found that he was having a good time.
“I enjoyed everything about the class,” he tells us, adding that “I like learning new things, and learning the different things about construction and getting more familiar with the industry was good.”
Sharing His Success
In fact, DeRon was so encouraged by the HCST training that he did whatever he could to help his classmates succeed, too. If someone was struggling, he was always there to help. He even offered rides to classmates who thought they might need to drop out because of transportation issues.
Both his aptitude and his attitude were noticed by employers before DeRon even graduated. Dave Jones offered DeRon a position working in their shop, where he’s excited to learn more about HVAC and getting more opportunities in the field.
On the job, he’s again found that work can be a joy when you love coming in each day. “Things are better since I started working at Dave Jones. My finances are more stable and getting better. Working here is good – I like my co-workers, I’ve gotten forklift certified even. I know things don’t change overnight, but I’m on a path now. I’m getting there. To my dreams.”