When Benjamin Raya Rico was 15 years old, he and his family moved from Michoacán, Mexico to Chicago. Benjamin recalls being full of hope and determination and guided by the pursuit of a better life. The memory of this major transition remains very fresh, and Benjamin remembers adjusting not only to a new language, but to a new culture as well. Although high school was challenging, Benjamin successfully earned his GED. He began to work in the landscaping industry and continued in that role on and off for years. Since landscaping was seasonal employment, Benjamin continuously found himself unemployed during the off season and he strongly wanted to create a better life for himself. At the age of 26, he knew he was interested in truck driving, but wasn’t sure how to get started. His friend connected him with National Able Network, and Benjamin found the jumpstart he needed to improve his career and his life.
“Before I was in landscaping, and I didn’t see a future. I wanted to improve my life,” says Benjamin. He was determined to succeed. In order to pursue a career path as a professional truck driver, Benjamin needed to earn his Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). With the help of National Able Network’s Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) program, CDL training was finally within reach! “The process was very easy. They gave me the instructions to fill out the application in the Pilsen office, and I just waited,” says Benjamin, “I was really excited to get approved!”
As soon as he was approved, Benjamin connected with his career coach Stephanie Levine. He received guidance on how to improve his resume and get job-search ready – all while actively involved in the CDL training courses. “Benjamin was determined to earn his CDL, and he worked very hard to improve his resume. He was responsive and very involved in all the aspects throughout his time with National Able Network,” says Stephanie.
After all his hard work, Benjamin successfully earned his CDL from the Juarez Driving School! He finally had the key to begin his brand-new career journey! “The CDL training was really helpful and the way they explained things to me was really helpful,” said Benjamin. “National Able Network gave me a new opportunity in life and to get a better job. I really appreciate everything.”