In 2018, when Antonio, 47 and father of six, first heard about FFSC, he was living in a local half-way house after a five-year stint in federal prison for selling drugs.
“FFSC made a presentation about their services and how fathers with felonies can find stable employment to support their families,” explained Antonio.
Although skeptical, Antonio signed up and within one week, FFSC enrolled him in the Building Union Diversity (BUD) Construction Training Program, which provides apprenticeships in the construction trades.
At the end of the five-week BUD apprenticeship, FFSC sent Antonio to a career fair, and shortly after, was hired by BAM Contracting, LLC, a local, minority-owned construction company, who, according to Antonio, “believes in giving people second chances.”
Describing his career transition as “almost magical,” he added, “Step by step everything fell into place with the help of FFSC. I was on my way to becoming a carpenter apprentice.”
He credits FFSC Career Advisor, Darryl Colvin, for changing his perspective: “Mr. Colvin said that in order to become a better father, you have to become a better man first. In class, he shared his life experiences, struggles and how to overcome any obstacle. I want to thank him for everything he’s done for us.”
Working closely with Antonio, Mr. Colvin explained why Antonio was so successful in the program: “Antonio Avila was committed to the FFSC process and a man of high character. Character is one thing I stress in class, to change the person you are and your situation.”
Today, Antonio is married and very active in his children’s and grandchildren’s lives: “I’m always at their sporting events, and I’m there when they need me.”
Although employed full-time with a stable career ahead, Antonio’s transformation is just beginning: “I am not where I want to be as of yet, however I am in a better place. I believe it’s a healing process.”