“Project P.I.E.C.E has been very helpful and very useful for my new career,” says Ravi, with a big smile beneath his even bigger mustache.
In 2011, Ravi left his home in India with nothing but $100 in his pocket. He worked tirelessly to save money for a used car and purchase a home for his family, but he was looking for a career to replace the odd jobs he was picking up to pay the bills. Now, he’s a maintenance technician for an apartment community in Charlotte. When we asked Ravi what he wanted to say about Project P.I.E.C.E., he told us the only thing to say is “thank you.”
Ravi was one of a select group of people chosen to participate in Project P.I.E.C.E., which stands for the Partnership for Inclusive Employment and Career Excellence. Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont partners with the City of Charlotte’s Economic Development Division and Urban League of Central Carolinas to sponsor this workforce development program to provide skills training and supportive services to help people obtain and keep a job in a high-demand field.
In addition to completing a seven-week course in residential and commercial construction, Ravi received industry-recognized credentials, mentoring, coaching and job search support. “I learned map reading, framing, wall framing, dry wall and mathematics for construction. After the course, I got my NCCER and OSHA-10 certificates,” he said. “This was a milestone for me, for my family and for my life.”
Now, he’s a guest lecturer in the very same class. The pay increase that came with his new career has helped Ravi feel stable and secure. As a result, his son was able to stop working at his part-time job to focus on school full-time. He’ll be graduating soon with a degree in mechanical engineering.
“I believe that if I’m hungry and you give me food, you’re making my day. But if I’m hungry for skills, for opportunity, for career development and you provide that then you are making not only mine, but my family’s life,” he said. “This is very important because to change anyone’s life… that’s a very difficult task. By providing this opportunity, Project P.I.E.C.E. and Goodwill changed my life, and that is very important.”