Until only recently the one recurrent theme in his life was moving. Born in Northern California and raised in the Southern United States and Northwest Coast; Antoine never really knew one home. His mother often found herself transferred from job to job. In order to provide as single parent, she had no choice but to uproot her three children. In 2011, the family returned to Northern California and Antoine began his freshman year of high school.
Antoine had always been an exceptional student and respectful young man. When many of his peers were distracted by gangs or drugs, or dropped out of school, Antoine focused on his classes and delved further into his books. With his positive attitude and his aptitude for learning, Antoine quickly rose to the top of his class. With odds stacked against him and only months remaining in his senior year, Antoine heard that his mother and one sister were staying in a boarded-up, abandoned house. Something had to give.
“It really hit me, I am going to graduate- I don’t have a place to stay, I don’t have any income. I have to figure out what I am going to do with my life” admitted Antoine. “I applied for 5-10 jobs everyday and out of 200 applications I only had two interviews in fast food and neither called call back. It wasn’t looking good.” And then the opportunity presented itself.
One week after Antoine had graduated from high school he moved down to Los Angeles to live with his grandfather. He walked through Managed Career Solution’s doors, at the referral of his cousin knowing there was no time to waste. His case manager was able to quickly enroll him in OpenTech LA, and his journey began: first, though the City of LA’s Hire LA Youth Summer Program, he began working for Health Care Integrated Services as administrative support for IT Help Desk staff, a free medical clinic to students and faculty in Compton Unified School District.
Upon completing the Summer Program, Antoine began a formal internship with funding from the Department of Labor’s American Apprenticeship Program and the City of LA’s “On-the-Job Training” Program. Within months, he went from $9.00 an hour to $13.00 an hour at Health Care Integrated Services, where he’s earned not only everyone’s appreciation, but their respect. Antoine visits his family at least once a month; he likes taking them to dinner and picking up the bill. He wants to help stabilize and provide housing for his mother, sister, and girlfriend. He has also decided to pursue a college degree and study Psychology, hopefully while remaining at his position.
“Qualifying for OpenTech LA was really important to me, I am getting my life together, and I can save to provide for my family.”