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“It’s never too late to do something new and challenge yourself.”
When Carlos came to the United States from Ecuador, he wanted a career in which he could provide for himself and his family. For many years, it seemed he had found that in the restaurant industry, but everything changed when COVID-19 hit New York City and Carlos was laid off – and then contracted COVID himself.
As he recovered, Carlos and his wife, also recently unemployed, searched for new opportunities. Brooklyn Networks opened up doors Carlos hadn’t imagined for himself; learning a new skill set in cable installation, he says, “I felt on top of the world.” Shortly after graduation, Carlos earned a full-time cable installation position helping to build high-speed data systems. Now, Carlos is back to providing for his children, who are 8 and 17. “I tell them it’s never too late to do something new and challenge yourself,” Carlos says – and he’s living proof of that.Next participant
“I had a purpose. I was really pushing to do something for my family.”
When Tamecca became a single mom at 24, she struggled to support her infant daughter and recently injured mother in their shared NYCHA apartment. “I needed to pay rent, phone bills, and my bills from being pregnant and unemployed,” she says. But as Tamecca searched for employment, she felt stuck, and she lacked experience in full-time roles.
When she learned about the opportunity to train with BWI and find work in her community with NYCHA, she knew it was the right path. “It made me feel like I had a purpose,” Tamecca says, “like I was really pushing to do something for my family.”
Soon, Tamecca earned her Pest Control License and a position with NYCHA. “I have a full-time job that comes with health benefits, childcare benefits, union benefits,” she says. “I feel like I can do anything.”Next participant
“They gave me a chance, and I ran with it.”
Maurice remembers the day he was convicted of a felony as the day that changed his life forever. His criminal record made it nearly impossible to find stable work; he faced constant rejection. But he didn’t give up, going door-to-door and filling out applications, and finally landed a job as a driver – that is, until his background check revealed his criminal record.
Maurice was beginning to lose hope when he came across the opportunity to train with BWI’s Red Hook on the Road program. It wasn’t easy – Maurice was living in a shelter in the Bronx, and his commute to training was over an hour. But he persevered again, and graduated having earned his Commercial Driver’s License. Now, he drives a refrigerator truck – and he’s working toward getting a place of his own. “The program changed my life,” he says. “They gave me a chance, and I ran with it.”Next participant
“My mom tells me how much happier I look now.”
The day Shawkimah learned she had cancer started like any other: She arrived for her shift at her food service job, but left soon after, feeling sick. Her diagnosis was a wake-up call in more ways than one – not only did she need to manage medical bills and other debt, she realized she wanted a job that was truly fulfilling.
So when she found BWI’s New York Drives and “Made in NY” Production Assistant training programs, Shawkimah recalls, “I was like, Okay – let me learn more about that.” In training, she earned her driver’s license, formed friendships, and landed an Office PA job. The fight wasn’t over – COVID-19 disrupted the TV and film industry, and Shawkimah was laid off – but it wasn’t long before she received another job offer. “This program changed a lot for me,” Shawkimah says. “My mom tells me how much happier I look now.”Next participant