GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – A construction program at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College (NWTC) is giving people who have battled adversity a chance at a career.

Nine students graduated from the Transportation Alliance for New Solutions (TRANS) program.

One of the students, Angeline Bruns, struggled with drug use and was in prison for two and a half years before taking the class. As the only woman in the course, she is breaking barriers for women in construction.

“It’s really changed my life so far,” said Bruns. “It had given me direction and purpose. I’m very grateful for that. I’m paving the way for women in this industry. I’m showing women that they can do it too.”

Hakim Valore from Oshkosh also overcame a lot to take the course. He was in prison for 15 years and, at age 50, was the oldest student in the six-week class.

“People, where I come from, don’t get these types of opportunities,” said Valore. “They didn’t even know construction jobs were for people of minorities and diverse backgrounds, so if I do good, then the construction companies will be willing to hire more.”

In the class, students become CPR certified, obtain Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), and learn skills necessary to get a job in the construction industry.

Beyond the lessons learned, when asking the students what their biggest takeaway from the class was, they both said the same thing, confidence.

“The purpose I have now is one of the biggest things I can take away because I didn’t have direction before this,” elaborated Bruns.

“Self-confidence [is] something I didn’t have for quite a while,” added Valore. “I realized there’s nothing that can come that I can’t overcome.”

NWTC TRANS Coordinator Ranard Morris knows this is his passion, saying, “It’s not a job. I can see the gifts and talents in each of them. Some people look at challenges and barriers, but I see the gifts and talents, what they bring to the table, and to be able to do this is so rewarding.”

The class is free, and the only qualifications needed to join are having a valid driver’s license and passing a drug screening.

The next course starts on May 8, 2023, and for application information, you can either click here, or you can contact Morris directly at 920-217-4789.