Apprenticeship Preparation Program

Mack Lewis was in trouble. He hadn’t had a stable job in over 3 years and had been in and out of jail. When asked what motivated him to come to Flintridge Center, Mack says, “To be honest, my life was a wreck.”

For many people like Mack, finding employment after incarceration can seem impossible. “It was hard to get a job with a felony background,” he says. “It seemed like every door was being shut on me. No one gave me an opportunity.”

In the spring of 2016, a Flintridge team member urged Mack to give our Apprenticeship Preparation Program a try. Mack says, “I needed something different and I needed to feel like somebody cared in this world. Coming into the class, I didn’t think anybody cared. But believe me, that three months changed my whole view on people.” Over the course of the three-month class, Mack dedicated himself to becoming an excellent candidate for union apprenticeship by learning construction math, workforce communication skills, blueprinting, construction safety, and more.

The compassion and relentless commitment of the program instructors motivated Mack to keep working toward a career. “They have a genuine love for others and their intention is to make you feel better. I haven’t seen that in a long time. That stood out to me.”

Just two weeks after graduating from the program, Mack got accepted into the Cement Masons Union. After being out of work for years, Mack says that being able to start his career right after graduating was extremely gratifying. He reflects, “I saw that all my hard work could pay off and that I always had it in me. I really inspired myself. And I love how I feel now.”

Now, Mack is working full time and supporting himself and his two sons, ages 7 and 19. He recently saw his 19-year-old for the first time in 2 years and says he’s looking forward to being a role model for his son.

Mack knows he’s never going back to where he was before. “I love my freedom,” he says. “I feel like the class helped me get out of a dark place. It gave me my life back; it showed me how to live my life again.” Mack puts it this way: “I feel like if it weren’t for this program, I wouldn’t be a free man, I probably would have gone down the wrong road.”

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