Apprenticeship Preparation Program

Steven never thought he’d end up in prison, but he did, for six long years. As a kid, he was around gang activity all the time. He never thought this would affect his life. It was simply the environment he found himself in.

When he left prison, Steven was scared. He didn’t know what to do. He tried to find a job, but no place that would hire him paid enough to make a dent in the support of his three children. He thought about returning to his old ways. He had completely lost faith in himself. He didn’t trust anyone.

He wanted help finding a job, but nothing gave him hope, so mostly, he did a lot of nothing. His parole officer thought this was dangerous and told him about us.

Steven was skeptical until he heard Flintridge team member Daniel Torres speak. Daniel’s words moved him because he too had made the journey from incarceration to a well-paying job. Daniel had graduated from our apprenticeship preparation program and worked in the construction trade. Eventually, he decided to move to a career where he could help others along the same path.

Steven was surprised when Daniel told him that in the construction trades he could earn solid wages and have security even though he has a criminal background. But what really convinced him was their connection. They had both been incarcerated, they were both fathers who wanted the best for their children, and our programs and services had helped Daniel create a new and better life for himself and his family.

Steven was inspired to give it a try. He was encouraged when he came to his first apprenticeship preparation class because his instructor was a knowledgeable retired construction worker who had years of experience. As he visited union construction sites, his confidence only grew. He used to be afraid to apply for jobs because of his prison record. But in the construction trades, what counted were his skills and who he was now, not who he used to be.

Steven also benefitted more than he thought he would from the life skills course we provided. The course helped him with self-presentation, interview techniques, money management, his relationships with others, and more. He also took advantage of our case management services, which gave him the support and assistance he needed along the way. Steven says that “this is where my confidence and self-esteem awakened. I felt these relationships were a type of friendship. Everyone at Flintridge showed a genuine interest.”

Steven joined the Carpenters Union and began his first job (on a building project at McKinley School of the Arts here in Pasadena!) while he was still enrolled in our program. Steven was so strongly motivated that he worked all day at a physically demanding job and then attended our program in the evenings. His family fully supported him as he worked toward his goals.

And since he completed his apprenticeship, he has been working nonstop. He now makes an excellent wage, has fantastic benefits, and sees opportunities ahead for career advancement. He has built savings and can provide for his two sons and his daughter, as well as assist their mothers. He loves that he can afford fun activities with his kids. It makes him feel like he is on cloud nine. He is also incredibly proud because his two older children are now in college. The stability he worked so hard to attain makes it possible for him to be there for them during this important time in their lives.

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