Geoffrey looks forward to waking up before the sun, getting in his work truck, and heading to the job site each morning. As he reflects on a lifetime of work history and over ten years of combined service in the army and navy, he can’t recall enjoying and thriving in a job as much as he has with Caltrans over the last two-and-a-half years.
Despite having substantial work history, Geoffrey was faced with limited employment options a few years ago after exiting the criminal justice system. Not one to shy away from a challenge or an opportunity to grow, he shares, “I used prison as a tool, not as a hindrance. I had issues, I worked on them, and I fixed them.”
While at a service provider informational event at a probation office, Geoffrey met a Chrysalis employee who told him about our job-readiness services and the Roads program – a division of our employment social enterprise that hires individuals on active supervision in freeway maintenance crews for up to 90 days. Initially, he had his doubts, “Picking up trash on the freeway? I don’t know about that. Sounds like community service to me.” When he learned he had to complete our series of job-preparation classes and one-on-one meetings before he could be referred to work with Roads, he was still skeptical. “Gosh, do I really want to do this?” he asked himself, “I need a job, I don’t need to go to class.”
Geoffrey weighed his options and ultimately decided that trying this out could only be beneficial. “It was worth every single bit that I put in, and I got tenfold back.” He shares, “I am proof that the program works.”
He recalls that his earlier days on the Roads crew proved to be some of the toughest. “It was probably the hardest work I had done in my entire life. I was seriously thinking about calling it quits,” he admits, “but I stuck it out. I’m not a quitter. And every day got easier.” His persistence and dedication to going above and beyond did not go unnoticed by his Chrysalis supervisor and the Caltrans operator on site. In one instance, they shared, “Geoffrey’s performance is above average. He is a team player who never has to be told twice what to do. His hard work is appreciated, and he is respected amongst the crew, including select Caltrans employees.”
Not long after starting with Roads, Geoffrey worked with his Employment Specialist – the same person he met at the informational event – to fill out an application to work with Caltrans and prepare for the test. “That woman was a saint,” he shares. He also took advantage of a Chrysalis scholarship to cover the cost of getting certified to operate a forklift.
Just as the end of his 90 working days with Roads neared, he got a call and a job offer from Caltrans. He was ready to start right away.
Over the last two-and-a-half years, Geoffrey has held several different positions with the company while also securing a number of certifications to enable his continued advancement. He shares that he is grateful he has been able to maintain employment through the pandemic and is proud of where he is at today – including everything from having a job he loves – with his own parking space – to sharing life with his supportive girlfriend and mother, who has been in his corner since the beginning.
In his words, “To come from where I was to where I’m at… that’s a good feeling.”
We applaud Geoffrey for his continued resilience and perseverance, and we are honored to have been a part of his journey along the way.