Established in 1991, Chrysalis Enterprises provides a transitional jobs program to clients who face the greatest barriers to employment. Transitional employment offers our clients the opportunity to gain real-world skills, build confidence, earn a paycheck, and develop the experience needed to find and retain long-term employment. Clients working a transitional job are in an important stage of their individual transformation, which is highlighted in the interview below:

We recently sat down for a Q&A with Buddy, a Chrysalis client working a transitional job as a part of one of our freeway maintenance teams based in Orange County. To learn more about the Chrysalis Roads program and Buddy’s job, click here.

Chrysalis: How did you find out about Chrysalis, and why did you decide to give our program a try?

Buddy: I’ve been in and out of prison a few times, and when I got out this past February, I went to the Orange County Probation Department. The head supervisor handed me a paper about Chrysalis, and I came right over.

I decided to try Chrysalis because I’ve gone to a lot of places like this, and they didn’t help. I sat at one for three hours filling out all the paperwork. Then when they actually met with me, they only brought up my background. We want to work, but nobody wants to give people with convictions a chance, you know? And that’s what’s good about Chrysalis. I come in and my Employment Specialist always goes out of her way for me and my supervisor has been good. Everyone always goes out of their way to help you here.

Chrysalis: How does it feel to be part of the Roads program?

Buddy: I’m in my third month with the Juniper crew, and I like every bit of it. My Employment Specialist told me about the Roads program when I first came in. I was desperate to try to get to work, and when I left the first place I tried, they said they’d get a hold of me and they never did. Chrysalis gave me a chance through Roads.

Chrysalis: What do you like about your transitional job?

Buddy: I’ve always loved landscaping. I was with a union, and I worked with an environmental development group for a while. When my Employment Specialist asked me what I wanted to do, I told her I wanted to do landscaping. I couldn’t be in an office, I have to be outdoors. Roads is all about landscaping. A lot of these areas haven’t been taken care of in a long time, so we pull weeds, we rake, and anything else the area needs.

Chrysalis: What kind of job are you looking for?

Buddy: I did another landscaping job through [Chrysalis’] Direct Hire [division], and I’ve been working at a catering company. I just did three applications and interviews the other day, and I’m waiting to hear back. But really, I’ll work hard wherever I’m at. If I can just get in the door, I’ll prove myself. If I’m working for you, I’m going to give you a good eight hours.

I learned all that from my dad. He was working constantly. He used to have a little tow truck and he’d go out and hand crank the cars onto it. He’d get $10 and bring it home to feed his five kids and my mom. When our heater went out, he went and made enough money to pay for someone to fix it. I remember him always working hard and doing what he could to take care of our family.

Chrysalis: What do you like to do when you’re not working?

Buddy: I like watching movies and looking after my mom. The main thing that keeps me motivated is my mom. She means more than anything to me right now since my dad passed away. It’s all about my mom right now.

Chrysalis: Do you have a mantra or an inspirational quote that keeps you motivated?

Buddy: “Work hard and it’ll pay off.” But mostly, I just think about my dad and his work ethic.

Chrysalis: Thank you for sharing with us! We look forward to seeing what you accomplish next.