Ross IES - Ed's Story transcript

Edward Callens: My name's Ed Callens. I'm the IT system specialist for Ross Innovator Employment Solutions, and the REAL program gave me a second chance.

I've always had a passion for IT. Technology's always been a big part of my life for as long as I can remember. So I've always had a long term goal to get education in the IT field and really pursue that as a career option for the rest of my life.

Tina Rogers: Gaining entry into the REAL program is voluntary on a voluntary basis. You don't have to belong to any other program or have to be trying to receive any assistance from any other program. You just come in, fill out the paperwork and we start the process.

Edward Callens: Unfortunately, as a young man, I was incarcerated. When I was released, I couldn't find a job. I couldn't find training. I was basically on my own, running in circles. I was fortunate enough to get connected with Ross and Detroit At Work. They found a training partner that would basically give me the entire training experience at no cost to myself. And fortunately through the REAL program that gave me the opportunity to get my education and pursue the career that I really wanted.

Tina Rogers: We actually have quite a few services through our REAL program. We have one-on-one career coach training. We have employment services. We have training services. There's also supportive services and financial services. Anybody that's willing to make a change, they want a new change in life, that wants to start a new career, they can come in and benefit from our program.

Edward Callens: My experience was great. Anytime I ran into any issue in my life, there was always some sort of service or support that Ross and Detroit At Work were able to provide me. I would still be working minimum wage, manual labor position. I very likely wouldn't have had this opportunity to get my education and do what I want to do with my life. So I'm very grateful to Ross for that.

Tina Rogers: Ed was actually an easy candidate or a customer. He came in knowing what he wanted to do, had his heart set on going into IT. Provided all his paperwork, provided all of his eligibility documents and did whatever I asked him to do. And we proceeded and actually moved him forward into training quite easily.

I would recommend the REAL program to anyone that want to make a change in life, want to have a fresh start, just want to go into something new or different in their career. I recommend that they come into us and we'll make that change for them.

Edward Callens: Anyone who's eligible should pursue the REAL program. With education and opportunity, you can get anywhere in life, and the REAL program gives a person that chance.