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  • Sacred Conversations 2016

Coalition Internship Readies Workers For Jobs

As far back as I can remember, I was always told that if I put my mind to it, I could do and be whatever I wanted. As I grew older, life’s circumstances began to become apparent in my life.

Moving from one city to another, I was never allowed to cultivate the relationships like many of my classmates. As a senior in high school, I never had one of those “freshmen year” reflection moments because I attended a different school during my freshman and sophomore years. High school graduation opened a number of doors for me. Instead of going straight to college, however, I chose to join the Army and left for basic training.

After basic and advanced training, I entered college. After three semesters, I chose to move in an attempt to remove myself from a racially charged situation. After enrolling at the new Springfield campus of the University of Illinois, I was ready to get my education back on track.

My new circumstances required that work be the priority and school secondary. My initial enrollment never panned out, and a few years later I found myself attempting to take classes at Lincoln Land Community College. Soon, work became the only priority.

After being married a couple of years, I observed my wife as she enrolled in a master’s program at UIS to further her career as an educator. I promised her and more importantly myself that once she finished I would go back and finish myself.

Again I enrolled in LLCC with the intent of obtaining an associate degree before moving on to UIS. I graduated from LLCC in May 2010, and I will walk across the stage again at UIS in May 2014 with a double major in business administration and management, then off to graduate school.

One of the requirements that must be met to graduate is an applied study term. In my case, it is an internship with the Faith Coalition for the Common Good. Within this internship, I will be heading the “100 Ready Workers” program. This is a program based on several of the coalition’s initiatives—high-speed rail, job training, and city services.

The 100 Ready Workers program will address one of the largest issues in the Springfield area—diversity on city and state construction projects—specifically, jobs for women and minorities within our community. As high-speed rail becomes a reality in the Springfield area, we are putting together a list of qualified women and minorities who will be ready and willing to tackle the jobs that will be created in the preparation and implementation of high-speed rail.

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