Like many disconnected teenagers in New York City, Alejandro Rivera fell behind in his course work and dropped out of high school. Shortly after, he received unexpected news that he was going to be a father at 19. Determined to provide a better life for his family, Alejandro enrolled in OBT’s Youth Education and Job Training Program, with the goal of one day working at a bank.
Immediately, Alejandro responded positively to the structure and discipline OBT provided, something missing from his experience in high school. “It was a boot camp for job training that helped me get back on the right track,” cited Alejandro. He excelled in the program, obtaining his GED, Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) Certification and the National Retail Federation (NRF) Certification. He learned and benefited the most, however, from his counselors who coached him through the soft skills that he struggled with in high school. “My counselor, Mr. Ronquillo, could relate to me and offered me good advice on how to deal with situations. He always had the right words at the right time so I would not give up on myself,” explains Alejandro. After obtaining his GED, Alejandro stayed to complete the program and even led the debate team to victory on Debate Day. Using the skills he acquired in OBT’s Public Speaking and Communication workshop, Alejandro enthralled the crowd at OBT’s annual Summer Soiree event with the story of his experiences in high school and at OBT. He quickly graduated from the program and immediately received an interview at Chase Bank.
“I was set on working at Chase because numerous people had told me it was a place of opportunity, where if you worked hard, you could move up,” Mr. Rivera explained. Two days later he was hired as an entry-level teller at $11.00 an hour.