Sometimes getting back on track with life can be difficult for some people.
There are seemingly too many obstacles, a lack of confidence and few people who are willing to give you a hand.
Such was the case for Kevin Lynch, a 43-year-old ex-offender who faced many barriers. A father of three, he was behind in his child support payments, was not involved in his children’s lives and was unemployed.
That has all changed since Lynch connected with the Racine YMCA First Choice Pre-Apprenticeship Training program in January, according to program director, Ola Baiyewu.
Now he is employed as an apprentice with Mortenson Construction and is up to date with his child support obligations and is involved in the life of his kids.
“His employer tells us that he is a valuable additional to their workforce,” Baiyewu said.
Moreover, Lynch now earns $26 an hour, and after he completes his apprenticeship is in line to earn a lot more.
Lynch is one of the many success stories of how ex-offenders can reconnect with the traditional work world and reconfigure their lives after incarceration.
“The program can help get people into the middle class,” Baiyewu said.
The Racine Family YMCA First Choice Pre-Apprenticeship Training program, was one of 25 agencies that participated Thursday at the Southeastern Wisconsin Re-Entry Employer Expo at Gateway Technical College’s SC Johnson Integrated Manufacturing, Engineering & Technology.
The program provides construction trades skills training as well as soft skills focusing on such things as effective communication, relationship building, substance abuse awareness, healthy eating and nutrition and conflict resolution.
For more information, contact The Racine Family YMCA First Choice Pre-Apprenticeship Training program at 262-898-4750.