Joe is a survivor and refugee of hurricane Katrina. Since relocating to Minnesota, he has hopped from part time job to part time job, working hard to make ends meet. At times, he has been homeless. Despite forklift training and carpentry skills, his criminal background made it difficult to get a sustainable job with opportunities to advance. Then, he learned about Second Chance, a division of EMERGE Enterprises.
Second Chance Recycling and Second Chance Manufacturing employ trainees for six months to a year, giving them a chance to build their work experience and skills while earning money and searching for private sector employment. During his interview to work with Second Chance Manufacturing, Joe says, “I was so nervous. I thought, ‘these people are so nice, what is the catch?’ They showed me consistent respect.”
During his time with Second Chance, he worked deconstructing mattresses and assembling cash register trays. Sometimes, he was able to double or triple quota. He says, “I felt pride in my work. I could look at it and say, ‘I did that!’” Joe was also able to meet with EMERGE coaches for empowerment training and computer skills training.
After almost a year at Second Chance, Joe has earned a new job with assistance from EMERGE’s staffing service, EmergeWORKS. He is putting past maintenance and irrigation experience to work at NEON Property Maintenance. As just the second of two employees, he is also learning new skills and is responsible for aspects of advertising, business management, and accounting. Joe is excited about where the opportunity will lead him: “I’ve learned more about business – you never stop learning! It is a blessing to now have the money to look out for my mom and my niece and nephew.”