Many young people dream of the day they get their first car – and 19-year-old Alex is certainly one of them. “I want a 1963 Dodge Charger!” he will happily tell you, smiling from ear to ear. But finding the right job to pay for that car has proved challenging.
The youngest son of 10 children, Alex graduated from Yolo High School in 2018 and participated in the workability program, where he performed light janitorial skills, including cleaning classrooms and outdoor maintenance. Impressed with his work ethic and drive, one of Alex’s teachers recommended him for a data collection internship with UC Davis.
When Alex’s internship ended, he was eager to start another job quickly. But the lack of opportunities in his neighborhood, compounded by the absence of reliable transportation, made finding the right job difficult.
To help Alex reach his goals of finding meaningful employment, he was referred to PRIDE Industries Youth Services’ Program in August 2018. Job Developer Carlos Perez started meeting weekly with Alex; together, they created a professional cover letter and resume. Carlos also helped Alex enroll in classes at Grace City (a youth support center) to improve his communication and computer skills.
Carlos was impressed with Alex’s attention to detail and commitment to learn and grow with a positive attitude. Alex’s determination was equally matched by Carlos – who went from business to business, discussing employment and internship opportunities with managers and owners, actively advocating on behalf of Alex and his ability to perform on the job.
Despite not having any luck initially, neither of them gave up; Carlos continued to coach Alex on work-ready skills and building confidence during job interviews. To be ready for any upcoming opportunity, Carlos purchased appropriate interview clothing for Alex, including dress shirts, slacks, and shoes – which was funded by PRIDE Industries’ Development and Donor Services.
To make it possible for Alex to broaden his job search outside his neighborhood, Carlos connected him with the Sacramento Regional Transit Mobility Training Program (subsidized by Paratransit, Inc.), which assists people in navigating the Sacramento bus and light rail system, allowing for greater independence and mobility for those without cars.
Now that Alex had all the necessary tools for attending and successfully completing an interview, the perfect opportunity became available when a custodial position opened through PRIDE Industries’ contract at the Sacramento International Airport (SMF). Carlos helped Alex fill out the application and contacted the PRIDE Recruiting Department; their determination paid off when Alex finally gained an interview!
Using both the skills and confidence he had gained, Alex aced both the phone and in-person interviews. In March 2019, he was hired as a full-time custodial worker at SMF, where he will be supported by PRIDE Job Coach John Edwards to ensure success in his new role.
“I’m hoping to stay at my job at the airport for a long time,” Alex explains. “I enjoy the work and the support from my team, especially from John. He provides a lot of encouragement and is always really positive and friendly.”