Message From Our President

Message From Our President

The Impact of an Urban Leaguer

  • by HAUL
  • Friday, June 23, 2017

This testimony is a must read for any supporter of the Urban League. Mr. Collins was kind enough to share his story regarding the impact our work has had on his life since becoming a client and completing our Workforce Development, & Training program. As you read through this letter, try to notice the words of appreciation and expressed gratitude. This is the client's way of writing you a thank you letter! Hopefully, you'll enjoy this "real time" view of how much your time, effort and money truly means to our mission at the Greater Houston Area Urban League and how much this opportunity you made possible mattered to this man and his family.

At the age of 19, Galen Collins became a Boatswaines mate in construction with the United States Navy traveling abroad for 3 years. As an alternative to college, he felt that it was the best course of action but in 2000, his tour of duty ended so he left. Galen says, "I was not going to make it a career and since Houston is the 4th largest city, I decided to go come home to pursue other job opportunities". 

In 2005, He found work in the field of Oncology as an administrative coordinator, but 3 years later, the company decided to relocate. "I was not offered a severance package so I had no idea about what to do next. The time vested forced me to begin again. I had to start all over". 

As a single father of 4, he had to find odd jobs to make ends meet. He worked in a refinery, as a barber, installed cable, and even took a job as an optician. "They were not a lot of jobs out here because of the recession but I had to work", He recalled. "Those jobs were just unstable and were not one's I felt passionate about. So, in 2010 I decided to move to Beaumont, Texas where I landed a job at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice". 

Remembering the frustration as if it were yesterday Collins continued, "Initially, I thought it was a good opportunity but over the course of time, this placed a great strain on me and my kids because of the distance. Plus, I was also unable to get a promotion that would cover all of my expenses. There was no room for advancement". "It was painful but I decided to resign" he said. Once again, Galen found himself back in Houston now living off of his retirement to survive. This time around, he did not want just a job, he wanted a career. He needed a craft where he could earn a stable income to support his family. 
While visiting the Texas Veterans Commission in May of this year, an adviser directed him to the Texas Work Source. During his search for opportunities on their 'Opportunity Board', Collins took notice of the Houston Area Urban League's flyer for the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) training. Having earned an OSHA 10 and a few other certifications, Galen thought the NCCER would be a great compliment. "I immediately contacted the name on the flyer, Program Manager, Rommell Williams who invited me to come in for the Wednesday Orientation to learn more about the program. I did not know what to expect but the instructors were reassuring".

"The experience turned out to be overwhelmingly exciting. In addition to what I thought I knew, I learned more in-depth about safety concepts and career pathways", he said. I bonded with people that I did not know who became like family” "I felt at home, and found the staff extremely helpful. Anything that I asked about I got an answer to or guided in the right direction. I had a chance to revisit my budget through one on one financial Coaching and attended a financial literacy class to learn about spending habits”. 

During the Houston Areas Urban League's NCCER recruiting event, Galen Collins met Waste Partners who hired him on the spot as a TMA Driver. He is currently making $13.00 an hour. Three weeks after the Recruitment event, Mr. Collins called to share that he received a call from Schlumberger to interview. He accepted their offer and will be transitioning at the beginning of July, working full time making $19.50 an hour with benefits. 

Surprised, and humbled by the opportunity he said, "With this NCCER Certification, Your options are endless. You may come into the situation expecting one thing, but leave out of the training with an unexpected opportunity. I was expecting $10 to 11 dollars or a tempt to hire position, but did not expect this in my wildest dreams. Often times, I have had to start at the bottom, but now I am good where I am now.”

My thanks to the more than 800 supporters of this year’s Equal Opportunity Day Dinner Gala.  You see without this annual dinner, our friends at United Way, the City of Houston and many others, stories like these cannot occur.  On behalf of the Board and the Staff at the Houston Area Urban League as well as the thousands of clients like Galen Collins, thank you for believing that Opportunity, really does matter.

Yours in the Movement,

Judson W. Robinson III

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The mission of the Houston Area Urban League is to enable African Americans and other minorities to secure economic self-reliance, parity, power and civil rights.

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