Graduate Spotlight: Katie A.


After years of working as a graveyard security guard or server, at 25, Katie, pictured right, applied to Hope Builders. She felt run down and discouraged trying to support herself, her sister and her niece, with whom she shared an apartment in a run-down neighborhood in Santa Ana. Katie wanted to ensure her niece could grow up in a safer neighborhood, with fewer struggles.

Inspired by her Uncle’s career, Katie dreamed of becoming an electrician. Katie shares, “I’ve always been ambitious and curious; Hope Builders gave me the opportunity to pursue my dreams. I like design and innovative architecture. I’m also passionate about math and science as well as problem solving, so naturally I gravitate to mechanics and learning to build just about anything.”

During Hope Builders’ construction training program, “I was given the tools to change my life,” Katie recalls. She finally felt like she was building the foundation for a brighter future. With the support of her mentors and instructors, Katie excelled, and her confidence grew each week. Katie also worked with her Hope Builders’ mentor to make a budget and establish savings goals that enabled her to purchase her own car.

Katie successfully completed training and started working with Hope Builders Career Connections (HBCC)—the program’s staffing agency—to launch her career. A.J. Kirkwood & Associates (AJK), impressed by Katie’s go-getter attitude, hired her as a laborer. Today Katie earns $20/hr. She’s out in the field and loving every minute of it despite her long commute to her project site in LA and the 5am shift start time! “I enjoy being a part of AJK. I’m able to utilize the skills I learned at Hope Builders every day while also continuously learning more. They treat me with respect and I’m excited to grow my career here.”

Thanks to your support, Katie is on track for a successful career as an electrician. Since joining AJK in June, both Katie and her supervisor have received follow-up support from HBCC. “I know I’m on my way to earn my journeyman certification and, ultimately, become an engineer. Hope Builders changed my life; thank you from the bottom of my heart.”