As hard as he tried, Nicholas Hernandez was not able to obtain employment. Having fallen into despair and hopelessness, he became entangled in illicit drugs, which led to his incarceration. Upon release, he managed to stay sober for a short stint, but easily fell back into the routine when free drugs were easily obtained. According to Nicholas, the drugs offered him an escape from the reality he faced, living with no job, no skills and no direction.

After his girlfriend asked him to shape up or ship out, Nicholas attended the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act program orientation at the Provisional Accelerated Learning (PAL) Center and enrolled in the Construction Trainee program. He received work readiness training that included interview skills, resume preparation, and training in the importance of punctuality and time management. Once he completes the program, Nicholas will receive three certificates in the construction field and a forklift license.

“I think that this program may have saved my life,” Nicholas said. “I am motivated and for the first time in my life I am filled with hope.” Nicholas is a WIOA program ambassador and eager to help young men like himself change their lives for the better.