Posted on Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Workforce-WednesdayThe old saying that good things usually come in threes frequently applies but, in the case of the Hernandez brothers, the good thing actually came in  twos. Chris and Alex Hernandez participated in the Eastern Shore Community College (ESCC) Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Youth program while  students at Arcadia High School, with the goal of making a successful transition to employment and further education. 

Chris and Alex moved with their mother from California and enrolled at Arcadia High School, a location where they could flourish and pursue their  dreams.  Due to limited family income and other factors, Chris became the first brother to enter the WIA program and to begin work with the ESCC  career coach, Faye Wilfong. 

Chris enrolled in the welding program and there discovered his career niche in life.  Chris mastered basic and then advanced skills as well as numerous  certifications required for employment in the field. 

With assistance from the career coach and financial backing from the WIA program, Chris also enrolled in an ESCC night welding class, furthering his welding skills and enhancing work contacts.  During this time, he also obtained part-time employment to help with family and personal expenses.  In addition to his welding program, Chris enrolled in college prep courses in math and science and maintained excellent grades.

After graduation, Chris was offered employment with Liebherr, a nationally known manufacturing company.  There he immediately put his welding skills to work and, within months of his employment, was selected for their elite apprenticeship program. Chris completed his apprenticeship in October 2014.

Alex, the younger brother, enrolled in the WIA program during his junior year.  He chose the building trades program with an eye toward becoming a building contractor. Alex also included college prep classes in his high school program and maintained excellent grades. After talking with the Marine recruiter during his junior year, Alex decided that his future lay with the military.

After completing basic training, Alex transferred to another training post where he received his assignment for refueling jets. He is still hopeful that, at some point, he will be using those building trades skills he earned in high school.

WIA and the career coaching program provided the support and financial aid which enabled both of these young men to pursue their dreams successfully.  Their personal initiative and the outstanding training they received in high school formed a basis for their success in life.

This story was written by Faye Wilfong, Career Coach, Eastern Shore Community College.'

Virginia's Community Colleges

Created more than 50 years ago, the VCCS is comprised of 23 community colleges located on 40 campuses across the commonwealth. Together, Virginia’s Community Colleges serve more than 270,000 students a year in credit and workforce courses.

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