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Aaron Cain

Aaron Cain, 42, wanted to make a change for himself and his family, but recognized his surroundings didn’t fit into his vision of a brighter future.

“Where I grew up at [in Houston’s Fifth Ward] you had to always keep you some protection while walking around them streets,” said Aaron. “I was stuck in that mind frame. After the second time [I was incarcerated], that was it. I was trying to succeed and I felt like I was being held back. That’s why I relocated… I moved to Friendswood and been okay ever since. I thank God that I’m not in that position anymore.”

Although relocating to Galveston County kept him out of trouble, finding sustainable employment was a challenge.

“I had been out of work and got behind on payments… I was working off my truck. I was scrapping for the cut yards. [When] people leave heavy trash [or abandon appliances] out in their yards, I will pick it up and sell it. The prices changed so much you never knew what you were going to bring home [that day],” said Aaron.

Aaron knew he needed to find employment and a look toward a long-term career, so he visited his local Workforce Solutions office in search of new opportunities.

“Because I am a felon, people don’t look to hire me too quickly,” said Aaron. “I let that [way of thinking hold] me back and stick me in a certain position instead of pushing forward and exceeding and pushing for what I want.”

After receiving the information about SER’s programs, Aaron met with SER Career Coach, Buddy Oviol, and enrolled in SER’s Customer Service & Food Handler Certification training in Galveston.

“The class was much more than customer service and food handling, it was about life skills too,” said Aaron. “Mr. Green [the instructor] gave us some real good material to work with. It was more about getting comfortable with putting myself out there again.”

 “Mr. Green took us step by step and walked us through the class. He made it relate to real life things that we can put a face to. He empowered us to step out there and do what we had to do and not to be afraid to hear ‘no’. Mr. Greene had me looking forward to the next class. He was awesome.”

After successful completion of the Customer Service and Food Handler’s course and obtaining his certification, Aaron accepted a position with the Galveston Parks Board.  Shortly after starting his new job, Aaron was selected to become a Certified Tourist Ambassador, which, among other things, allows him to sit on a panel and share his ideas on how to make Galveston more attractive to tourists.

“My office is the beach,” said Aaron. “You can’t beat that!”

Beyond the credentials, life skills, and connections to a job, the training helped Aaron take steps toward his ultimate goal.

“I needed that class,” said Aaron. “[Eventually], I want to own my own food truck. I knew that the [class] would come in handy if I wanted to get my [business off the ground].”

Aaron’s goal is to have his food truck “Lu-Lu’s” up and running in the near future and become a vendor for various attractions around the area, such as the Houston rodeo. He is now working towards saving funds to get his DBA, necessary licenses, permits, and finding the right vehicle for his equipment.

“If you are looking to make a change, said Aaron, “[SER] is a perfect place to start.”