Right now, there’s a huge gap between the supply and demand of skilled workers. All the vocational trades have been gutted from 90% of the schools across the US. So we created The Master’s Apprentice to help urban, young adults find a true career path in the skilled trades that will provide a decent income for them to provide for their families. My background included a lot of entrepreneurship along with working with a lot of nonprofits. From those experiences I learned that there was a huge gap between the youth looking for an opportunity and the corporations, the small businesses that were looking for quality employees. We’re trying to close that gap; to help these corporations find these people they’d never find before. The typical student is primarily from low income backgrounds, usually from broken homes. A lot of these guys, they don’t have a lot going for them. They’re doing these menial jobs. They work in McDonald’s. They’re delivering pizza just to get by. We help them develop a game plan for success. My dad passed away when I was 10. Unexpectedly, he had a heart attack. So it was me, my brother and my sister, and my mom. Wasn’t really worried about my future too much. 19, I got a DUI. Drinking and driving. I just kept getting in trouble. Just going downhill. You know, bad stuff. But that was a blessing and a curse because I didn’t know how good I had it. And then I found an ad that said, “Learn the trades and get paid while you do it.” I hit them up and they called me down for an interview. I remember walking in the first day and just looking around. There’s a bunch of dudes just like me. The five key areas that we focus on are the journeyman’s paths. Some of them come in knowing exactly what they want to do, but the vast majority of the students really don’t know. They kind of want to do this and they kind of want to do that. We enhanced our curriculum on top of the basic skills you need in the trades. It’s all centered around the letter A. ‘Cause I feel that you need those to be successful, not only in your career, but in life. We’re trying to help our urban youth become part of the middle class. And the vehicle for that is the trades, the skilled trades, to become a journeyman. You can make $60,000-$80,000 a year, which you can provide for a family with that kind of money. It’s hard work. I’m not kidding you. But you’re bringing home the bacon. You’re given an opportunity now, not to just get a job, but have a career, something that will sustain you the rest of your life. Something you can teach your kids that they can grow with. How cool is that, man? The remaining 10% of the students usually get a job
within a couple of weeks after that. Last class we had one young lady, she had six offers on the table. She could choose from any one. And to have companies saying, “We want you, we need you,” is something powerful for a student. To say, “Hey, somebody wants me, I have self-worth.” And that’s one of the things that we try to instill is that self-worth. I’ve been given my life experiences for a purpose, for a reason. What am I gonna do with all this experience? Am I just going to go to the mountains and go fishing? No. I need to reinvest that. I find my job fulfilling. More fulfilling than any other job I’ve had. It’s a whole different quality of life you live. It kind of bleeds into everything. How you walk, how you talk, how you look at people. It’s like a paradigm shift. Whole new universe, man. In our series Catalysts, we’re profiling inspiring social entrepreneurs who are developing bold solutions to our biggest problems. Subscribe to Freethink now to be the first to see new episodes.