Before Vernon started installing siding on houses, he had never picked up a hammer. But the laborious work provided a decent income for Vernon to start saving money and provide for his family. Then came the housing market crash. Vernon lost his job and with it the steady income. Starting over from scratch at the age of 47, was daunting, but Vernon made a commitment to himself to focus on building his construction skillset beyond the basics of installing siding. “My goal was put myself in a better position in the job market and be a valuable employee for a great company or start my own company.”
One of the first steps Vernon took was to enroll in the Michael H. Kappaz Workforce Development program at our Spanish Catholic Center. The Kappaz Workforce program trains students in carpentry, electricity, solar panel installation, and job-site skills in order to compete in the emerging green economy. For Vernon, the program was much more than a job training class. “The center embraces you like family. They make you feel at home. They gave me hope that what’s on the horizon is bright.”Vernon earned a nationally accredited green construction certificate through the program. The training helped him land a great job as a building manager where he puts his expanded skillset to use every day. But he hasn’t stopped learning. After getting the basics during his time at Catholic Charities, he now is taking electrician courses on the nights and weekends.
“It’s never too late and I got a lot of hope for the future.”