“A dead end street is just a place to turn around…”, or so goes the lyric from a song called “Rock Bottom” recorded in 1994 by country artist Wynonna Judd.
Truck driver Jim Taylor* had taken several wrong turns in his life and he was looking at rock bottom. He was homeless. He had battled addiction and a physical condition which severely impacted his ability to work in the construction industry. He had a criminal history which excluded him from many job opportunities. He had been out of work for several years, and he had little experience using a computer to create a resume and search for jobs online.
Jim was frustrated at every turn in his efforts to change his circumstances, but he was determined to turn his life around, find a better life and achieve his goal of independence.
Miracle Hill Ministries (Harbor of Hope) is a homeless shelter in South Carolina who helped Jim contact a career consultant at SC Works Cherokee. They referred him to the South Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation Department which provides an individualized array of services to help people with disabilities find employment. He was evaluated for medical assistance with his physical limitations and assisted with physical therapy and knee supports.
The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) is a federal program administered through state agencies to help businesses meet their need for skilled workers and provide individuals with access to training that helps them prepare for work. Jim learned he was eligible for WIA orientation for intensive services. He completed his resume, continued to work on his computer skills, and was later enrolled in the Administrative Office Certificate program at a local college. WIA funds were utilized to assist Jim with continuing education pre-vocational services. He successfully completed this basic computer class and earned a certificate of completion in Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Business Grammar and Communication.
As he learned new skills, Jim gained self-confidence and became more and more motivated. He began to research Labor Market Information to explore a career in truck driving, and he was WIA approved to attend the Truck Driver Institute (TDI) in Richburg, SC.
TDI was initially reluctant to enroll Jim because, in his case, they were unsure they could assist him with job placement. Jim’s career consultant, however, assured them that if Jim was allowed the opportunity to gain a credential, that he would be successful on his own.
Jim Taylor successfully completed his CDL training in May, 2012 and was hired by Carolina Cargo. He continues to work full-time driving a truck. In little more than a year, Jim went from being homeless with no income, no marketable skills, a criminal history and physical limitations to working full-time, making a steady paycheck, and earning not one, but two credentials. Through the services and assistance of SC Works Cherokee and the staff of Truck Driver Institute, Jim has gained the confidence to achieve his goals, and more importantly, he has found a renewed relationship with his family.
*Student’s name has been changed.
Truck Driver Institute is one of the nation’s leaders in Commercial Driver’s License training. We have been putting America to work since 1973. So that means we have 40 years experience training America’s truck drivers, and 40 years running one of the top ranked driver training programs in the country.
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