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Opinion: At 19, I was homeless. Now at 25, I’m a homeowner with a good-paying union job.
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Opinion: At 19, I was homeless. Now at 25, I’m a homeowner with a good-paying union job.

Michigan carpenter Raquell Rivera describes how her career as a union carpenter enabled her to transition out of homelessness and become a homeowner. Raquell explains how proposed cuts to federal workforce development funding could threaten both the preapprenticeship program she attended and similar programs.

The Stories team at the Center for American Progress Action Fund works with storytellers who author op-eds about how policy impacts their lives. The team helps elevate their op-eds.

Immediately after I graduated high school at 19, I fled my unsafe family home and became homeless. I spent the next two years bouncing between friends’ couches and youth shelters, unsure of what to do with my life.

Today, at age 25, I’m a homeowner with a new car and a pension to look forward to when I retire. If you had told me five years ago that my future had all that in store, I’d have thought you were lying. And I definitely wouldn’t have believed that I’d become a union carpenter and one of the few Hispanic women working in construction in Lansing, Michigan. But that’s the truth, and it’s thanks to the pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs I went through.

The above excerpt was originally published in The Michigan Independent. Click here to view the full article.

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Raquell Rivera


Digital Advocacy

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