Job Training Helps Umar's Family Get Ahead
Five days a week, Umar is behind the wheel of his city bus. Reveling in the relative freedom of the road while helping strangers navigate Hartford’s streets, Umar, a father of three, is living his dream.
He gets to spend every night with his family, he makes enough money to support them, and they have health benefits. These are simple elements to a life that brings a smile to Umar’s face, and they’re also elements he and his family were without just a couple of years ago.
Umar used to spend three months at a time on the road driving trucks, coming home for just a week or two at a time. He didn’t earn enough money for his family to thrive. They didn’t have affordable health insurance, and his wife had to drop out of school to work more hours and still balance time to care for their children.
It was a life that put a great deal of stress on the family, and it was also a life that was unsustainable. Umar had to make a change, and that change came after he entered a training program developed by a partnership of employers, education organizations and service providers coordinated by CBIA’s Education Foundation with support from Workforce Solutions Collaborative of Metro Hartford.
Workforce Solutions, founded by United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut and other regional organizations, is a public/private partnership committed to meeting employer needs for a skilled workforce and helping lower-income individuals get, and advance in, jobs with career paths in healthcare, manufacturing and transportation, distribution and logistics.
Umar, who emigrated from the Netherlands, participated in an Academic Skills Enhancement course, providing him with a firm foundation in English language and math skills. Coupled with “every tool you need to find a job” and a National Career Readiness Certificate, Umar says he was provided with something altogether more valuable: confidence.
“Before the program, I wasn’t too confident in myself,” Umar says. “They gave me the confidence to know that I can go look for a job I am capable of doing without any fear or hesitation.”
It took some time for Umar to find the job he has today — he sent in application after application with no response. But he wasn’t alone. Right by his side was program staff from CBIA’s Education Foundation who helped assess his resume, gain additional licensing to make him an even more qualified candidate, and eventually get hired.
“My life has changed completely now,” says Umar. “I’m so happy. I’m making good money. I’m very independent in my job. Everything is going fine for me.”
Umar’s wife is preparing to go back to school, and he is planning to continue his language classes.