James Gonzalez (not his real name) came into the NCWorks Career Center in December 2021. He needed help with job searching and some career advice. He faced several barriers to employment. He needed to talk with someone, and wanted guidance.

James moved to Davidson County from Texas in 2020 and attended Guilford Technical Community College to obtain his High School Diploma. He then attended Davidson-Davie Community College. He wanted a degree in HVAC. His dilemma was that he did not meet the residency requirement, so he was considered an out of state student. He did not have anything to prove that he had been in North Carolina since 2020. Therefore, his tuition was extremely high as an out-of-state student, and his expenses were quickly mounting.

James could not decide if it was best to take a leave from college and work at a full-time job or find part-time employment and finish his college degree. If he took a leave from school and worked full-time to pay off his college debts, he could return after he could prove he was a resident of North Carolina. That would result in more affordable tuition. He also considered finding a company that would hire him on 2nd shift, so he could finish his current semester in college.

James also had another barrier to obtaining employment. When he was 16 he was convicted of DWI in Texas. This previous conviction impacted his ability to obtain employment with some employers. He had three years heavy equipment operation experience, operating a crane and a forklift. He had previously traveled across the United States, working in building demolition.

James had been job searching for a while since moving to North Carolina and was feeling frustrated and worried. He felt that he was not getting a job offer due to the DWI conviction. Staff listened to his concerns and frustrations and encouraged him to continue to persevere despite the difficulties, as he obviously had many strengths and abilities. We reminded him that he had much to offer an employer, including good work skills, a strong work ethic, great communication skills, and intelligence.

Staff informed him of several local companies that were hiring. We completed an updated resume and cover letter together and talked about several companies that were hiring for 2nd shift. If he was hired on 2nd shift he would not have to make such difficult decisions so quickly, including whether or not to quit school.

Staff called a local trucking company and talked with the Human Resource manager to see what their policies were on hiring someone with a DWI.  The Human Resource manager set up an interview with our customer the next day.

James came back to tell us he was hired on 2nd shift in the shipping department making more money than he had ever made. He was going to try to finish out the semester and work at the same time.

James said he was grateful for the time we took with him and the advice and encouragement. This gave him renewed hope that he did have a bright future and that he was able to work toward achieving it. James said he was going to refer other people to our career center that needed guidance, support, and job search assistance.  When we know we are able to help someone change their perspective on life, our job is rewarding beyond measure.

Respectfully submitted,

Karen Kopa
Career Advisor
NCWorks Career Center, Thomasville