Program Sets Young People on Path to Success

The first week 22-year old Marcus Thompson took a bus across town from his home in the West End to Pittsburgh Trade Institute in the city’s Homewood neighborhood, he wasn’t sure he was going to make it in their masonry training program. It was his first real job.

“First week I got here my body was sore,” Marcus admitted. He also wasn’t used to having a “boss” like his instructor telling him what to do. “I took it the wrong way,” Marcus remembers. “But he was showing us tough love in the work force. He was just letting me know in the work force there’s no time for slack.”

Nearly a month in, Marcus has discovered he’s good at laying brick and cinder block, and he even sees the possibility of a career as a mason or in the construction trades. This jump start on his future was made possible through a free program called Goodwill RISE (Reentry through Industry Specific Education), which is taking applications right now.

See what Sparkt found when we went inside the program:

In its first 5 years, the RISE program has trained more than 250 young people (age 17-24) who are unemployed or underemployed in one of three well-paying career tracks: Brick & Block Masonry and General Laboring Training, Culinary Arts Training, and Machinist Training. The program is now recruiting applicants for its upcoming session. The deadline is January 15, so hurry!

“These type of jobs you control your own destiny. You could have more than a future.” Marcus Thompson, Goodwill RISE student

Like Marcus, participants can get help getting their high-school equivalency certificate (GED), and may also be eligible to earn professional certifications that will make them more marketable to potential employers. The RISE program also offers job search assistance.

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