News & Blog: Learner Stories


Guest blogger: Chad Patton, Director of Customized Workplace English

If there were one word to describe Antonio, it would probably be “handy.” Since Michiganders were asked to Stay Home and Stay Safe due to the Coronavirus, Antonio has been taking the time to work around the house.

Antonio photo“I put my gutters around the house… I got a deck, a big deck in the back yard, so I cleaned it and I stained the whole deck… and [my wife] wants me to fix a little table for her.”

Antonio, who works in maintenance for a large apartment complex by Rivertown Crossing, came to the Literacy Center to hone his handiness into a Construction Core Credential through a partnership with Grand Rapids Community College.

“When I found that there was a class like this, I said to my wife, ‘I need it, I want to take it…’”

Antonio had always been good with handiwork. His interest for construction started when he had difficulty finding a job after moving to the United States from Mexico.

“A long time ago, I was without work,” Antonio said, “I could not get work here because I was in the immigration process…”

Fortunately, Antonio’s father-in-law owned a small business that focused on roofing and other types of handiwork. It was there that Antonio started to learn more about tools as well as how to fix and build things.

With the Construction Core class, though, Antonio is now learning how to use tools properly.teamwork2 3 11

“I know the tools just to look at it,” Antonio said, “but now [I know] the right way to [use them]. Now that I use the [tools] the way I’m supposed to use them, I say, ‘this will save me a lot of trouble.’”

Due to Coronavirus, Antonio isn’t able to learn in his preferred method (hands-on learning), but he is still able to meet with his GRCC trainer and Literacy Center trainer through a virtual classroom. Nonetheless, Antonio continues to work toward his goal with the hope of finding an apprenticeship opportunity.

Meanwhile, Antonio continues to work – both at home and at the apartment complex, and spend time with his wife who, lucky for him, is a hair stylist. When the Coronavirus ends, Antonio plans to go to the beach.

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