Leon has big dreams for his future.
“I want to get my CDL license to become a truck driver,” said Leon. “Then, in five to ten years, I’d like to own a fleet of trucks to give others like me an opportunity.”
At just 21 years old, Leon had a clear goal. What wasn’t clear was what he needed to do to get there. Leon’s sister suggested he turn to Employ Milwaukee, a United Way partner that helps individuals overcome barriers and find stable employment.
Leon met with Tracey, a career counselor, who helped him navigate his options for CDL classes. Employ Milwaukee also helped with funding for his classes so Leon could focus full-time on school. “Employ Milwaukee gave me a great opportunity,” said Leon. “When you have someone to guide you it makes the process a lot easier.”
Growing up in Milwaukee wasn’t always simple for Leon. “I used to hang around guys who were on a path I realized I didn’t want to be on,” Leon recalled. “But as a young man of color things aren’t always easy. There isn’t always someone pushing you.”
United Way supports Employ Milwaukee and other programs through the Reducing Barriers to Employment & Advancement initiative. Donations support local programs like these that offer education, training, and credentials; transportation assistance; and other resources to help individuals overcome barriers to employment.
A particular focus of United Way’s work to reduce barriers to employment is helping African Americans, who historically have faced more barriers to family-sustaining employment than whites.
With the support of Employ Milwaukee and his family behind him, Leon recently graduated with his CDL license and is excited to hit the job market.
“Everyone around me is proud of me for taking this next step,” said Leon. “They are excited to see who I become.”
Leon and Employ Milwaukee remind us all that to live better, we must Live United. Donate below to United Way’s Reducing Barriers to Employment & Advancement initiative to support this important work.