On a recent Monday morning, Aireyuna Dumas knelt on the ground and carefully hammered a nail into a wood floor.
She was three weeks into a three-month construction program at the St. Paul-headquartered Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota, where she spends five days a week learning the trade.
Dumas, a mother of two young children, learned about the program from a friend a couple of months ago, when she decided to leave behind a dead-end retail job for a career in construction. “I love working with my hands,” she said. But she also knew that she would make good money if she becomes a unionized construction worker, a job she hopes will provide a better life for her children.
Recently, the organization was one of seven organizations nationwide to receive the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services first-ever “Employer of Excellence” designation for providing individuals from underserved communities with career training and job placement.
Goodwill focuses on individuals from underserved communities who are unemployed or underemployed and are facing barriers to improve their economic situations. With its variety of training programs and job placement services, it not only provides well-paying jobs, but it means more qualified candidates for in-demand fields in Minnesota.
Because of her training and job placement opportunities, she’s optimistic about life after graduation. “Construction work is something that I love doing,” said Dumas. “After graduation, I plan on joining a union … that would allow me to make good money and take a good care of my kids.”
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