You may remember Willie from his virtual welcome home party posted on the Kids to Love Facebook page back in January. You waited with us for him to arrive, and you cheered as we welcomed him to a new beginning through the KTECH workforce training initiative.
Willie is a former foster child, and was living in a homeless shelter in Montgomery, Alabama in the weeks before Kids to Love moved him to Madison where he enrolled in KTECH.
On the outside, Willie’s life changed overnight. But he will tell you it took a little bit longer to transform the inside.
“It was so many doors that were closed in order for me to get to this point,” Willie said as he accepted his certificate at KTECH graduation.
Willie came to class, but will tell you he didn’t invest much effort otherwise. His test scores were low because, as he puts it, he wasn’t holding up his end of the deal to give KTECH his all.
Some “tough love” from Lee Marshall and other members of the Kids to Love team motivated Willie to turn things around. His test scores started moving from the 50s to the 90s.
“That was because I started staying later. I started putting forth the effort,” Willie says.
On May 9th, Willie claimed the KTECH graduation certificate that he had rightfully earned.
Willie’s story runs deep with Kids to Love, because Lee has known him since she met him in foster care when he was 8-years-old. He never was adopted, but through Kids to Love and KTECH he found his “forever family.”
When the KTECH workforce training program began in January 2016, we knew it wouldn't be easy and we knew we wouldn't always have all the answers at first. We also knew that if we could be the vehicle to empower and change even one life, it would be worth it.
Before our eyes we saw a young man go from the uncertainty and impermanacy of foster care and homelessness to become a Siemens Certified Mechatronics Systems Assistant with multiple job offers from major advanced manufacturing leaders. Since its inception, there have been many KTECH success stories to tell. This one is Willie's.
KTECH is ready to help other students write the next chapter in their lives. You can read more about KTECH and the Mechatronics program, and even apply for classes.