A BUILDING FUTURES SNAP E&T SUCCESS STORY
Meet Chris, a 31 year-old father of two. A year and a half ago, Chris had just been laid off from a part time job that paid $10 per hour. He had a lot of debt and no transportation. Chris was also very depressed. The public benefits including SNAP he and his family were receiving helped, but they were barely managing to make ends meet. Chris’s brother had recently graduated from Building Futures’ pre-apprenticeship program that trains and prepares students for placement in apprenticeships in the building trades. He suggested that Chris look into it. Chris liked construction, and the opportunity to get a good paying job doing something he liked, gave him hope. He made the decision to learn the skills he needed to get a job that would support his family working at something he could be proud of.
The day he went to Building Futures to enroll in their pre-apprenticeship program, he felt a sense of responsibility and a determination to succeed that he hadn’t felt for a while. Because he was receiving SNAP benefits, he was eligible to enroll as a SNAP E&T participant. This allowed him to get the extra supports he needed, like bus passes, so that he could get to his classes and complete his training.
Chris put everything he had into the program. He had gotten his GED several years prior, but his math still needed strengthening. He was able to take the construction-based math class that Building Futures offers along with the pre-apprenticeship training, and he improved his math skills.
Chris worked hard, and with the support and encouragement of his teachers, he graduated in December 2015. But, he wasn’t done with his training at Building Futures. He took financial literacy classes and learned about ways to reduce his debt. He got one-on-one counseling to help him tackle his financial issues and build his credit score. He also took Welding, one of Building Futures’ classes for pre-apprenticeship graduates. He earned an American Welding Society certification, adding valuable skills and improving his chances of getting a job that would change life for the better for he and his family.
Chris’s motivation and focus paid off when he was accepted into the Laborers Local 271 apprenticeship program. He began attending apprenticeship classes and within a few months was placed in a job as a laborer apprentice starting at $19 per hour. He was able to get health insurance for his family too. It is nice to see Chris smiling!