Real people,

TE Story pic - richard jackson

"When I started, my short-term goal was to learn the press and the paperwork, and my long-term goal — which now I consider a short-term goal — is to be in a managerial position, a shift supervisor."

In 2015, Richard was working at a junkyard when he was charged with aggravated theft and corrupt activity. Three years later, a conviction and a three-year prison sentence followed. Richard served two and a half years and was released to Harbor Light halfway house in February 2020.

“I knew coming home I had to get employment,” he says, explaining that his wife had carried all the financial burden of raising kids and maintaining a home in his absence. “I wasn’t really concerned about what type of job.”

During an employment readiness session at Harbor Light, Richard learned about Towards Employment — and the Access to Manufacturing Careers program than came with a $500 a week training stipend, an enormous leap from the $21 a month he earned laboring in prison. “After about a week, it wasn’t about the $500 anymore, it was about what I can get out of this class, and if I can make it to the end, then I’m gonna go to the next step.”

Richard found employment with a criminal background in the height of the pandemic. He credits his Towards Employment Career Coach for pushing him to think of the future and how today’s training could set him on a path to a career in manufacturing.  He works closely with his career coach, whose guidance helped him build a close relationship with his shift supervisor. That supervisor’s encouragement helped him maintain a positive attitude — even while working second shift with a 4-month-old.  And this hard work has paid off: Richard’s advancements have earned him a 58% increase in wages in just 15 months.