Antonio feels good about the future. After experiencing a few setbacks, he is ready to get back out in the community and find a fulfilling career.

“I enjoy working and being around people,” said Antonio. “It feels good to have a purpose.”

Last fall, Antonio attended United Way’s Men’s Job Seminar, hosted by ManpowerGroup.

The event was a free, one-day life and job seminar for local men looking to develop professional skills, find a job, or explore a new career.

At the conference, Antonio brushed up his resume and interviewing skills with the help of local volunteers, and talked one-on-one with recruiters. Antonio also met with a municipal court judge to create a payment plan for outstanding parking tickets and get his driver’s license back.

“United Way designed the Men’s Job Seminar for people exactly like Antonio,” said Shannon Reed, director of innovative strategies for boys and men of color at United Way. “It’s about how we help the men in our community become employment-ready and learn how to advocate for themselves to land that job.”

Since experiencing homelessness in 2016, Antonio has struggled to find full-time employment.

“I left my place to get out of a bad relationship, and had too much pride to ask to stay with anybody,” remembered Antonio. “It was hard to keep a job with nowhere to get ready in the morning.”

“I want to drive a forklift,” said Antonio. “I’m trained, and would like to be part of a team and have a purpose.”

Antonio also accessed services through United Way program partner Wisconsin Community Services (WCS), which offers employment resources and access to skills training to increase employability and overcome barriers, like an inconsistent job history, lack of transportation, or unfamiliarity with using a computer.

“I know that Antonio loves to drive a forklift,” said Leslye Love, business account representative and job developer at WCS. “WCS works hard, alongside United Way, to ensure that he finds a permanent, stable job that he is happy with and that helps him succeed in his life.”

Of participants in United Way-funded reducing barriers to employment programs, 88% achieved job-specific credentials to help them get a job. Of those that attended United Way’s Men’s Job Seminar, 84% felt that the experience was helpful in taking the next step to secure employment.

At the end of the job seminar, Antonio had a big smile on his face. “I got some job leads today and met with a judge who is going to help me get my license back,” said Antonio. “I can’t wait to get started.”

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