Steve Pierre-Louis Got a New Start in Atlanta – and an Unexpected Career with the Help of CEFGA

When Steve Pierre-Louis moved from Long Island, N.Y., to Atlanta, he was looking for a fresh start. He got that, and much more: A new career to which he is thoroughly committed.

Steve graduated from Construction Ready at Build Cobb in June 2019. Then, through IEC (Independent Electrical Contractors) Atlanta, he landed a job with Alpharetta-based MG Electric.

“When I moved down here, I didn’t expect that at all,” says Steve, who had no prior construction experience. “I didn’t expect that I would start a new career. This is not a job for me – it’s literally a career.”

The transition wasn’t easy at first. The father of Steve’s fiance lives in Atlanta and “had been telling her for years to move down,” he recalls. “One day we just packed up and left.” In New York, he had worked in warehousing, as well as a job caring for the mentally disabled, but his Atlanta-area job search was coming up empty.

A trip to a Cobb County Walmart, of all places, was the turning point. A group of volunteers was out recruiting for Construction Ready, and their bright yellow shirts caught Steve’s eye.

He says: “A guy named Elvin Hayes came up to me and said, ‘Hey, you look like someone who might be interested in construction,’ and I was like, ‘Yeah! Why not?’ I figured why turn down something that someone brings to you? Why not give it a shot?”

Steve’s lack of familiarity with the construction environment was initially a challenge, but he eventually began to adjust and thrive. He’s a prime example of how a novice with a desire to learn can enter Construction Ready and come out with a promising career.

“Back in New York, I was more of an office guy, so this was a whole new ballgame for me,” he says. “In the beginning it was hard, because I never had the mental training to get up early, to stay awake. But after a while, it started to become a normal routine.”

When IEC referred Steve to MG Electric, he took that newfound sense of discipline and made sure he was prepared for the interview.

“I showed them all my credentials right off the bat, laid them all out on the table,” he remembers. “I even came there with a hard hat and boots, a vest, and a few tools. I looked up what tools I would need to become an electrician, and one of my friends went with me to Harbor Freight. He said, ‘This is a start, so they can see that you’re trying.’ And the interviewer said, ‘I want to hire you. I want you to be part of my company today.’”

Now Steve is well into IEC’s four-year journeyman program, in which he takes weekly online courses while gaining valuable experience in the field. He says that right from the start, MG Electric gave him challenging work beyond the typical tasks that some entry-level laborers are assigned.

“As soon as I went in, they put me to work,” he says. “I was asking questions left and right, how to do this, how to do that, and they had me wiring receptacles, putting up pipes, learning how to bend pipe, while going to school as well.

“I had never really looked into the construction side, how important it is,” he continues. “Being in the field now makes me appreciate the people who are doing it. When I first got into construction, I didn’t really know what each field was about. Once I started studying it, I felt like electrical was where I wanted to go, because people always need power. We literally put power into everything.”

Since beginning IEC training, Steve has been documenting his “Road to Journeyman” on Instagram (follow him @dreadwatt). It’s a useful platform to see where he started and how far he’s progressed. Looking back even further, Steve won’t soon forget his move to Atlanta and the role CEFGA played in giving him a new start.

“When I came down here, I was down and out,” he says. “The first couple of weeks were tough. We barely had any money – we had just gotten an apartment and we were scared we were going to lose it. Construction Ready has made me a better man. It has made me a better family man. I’m able to provide better now for my family. I’ve learned so much. I wish everybody would go through this program.”

Learn more about Construction Ready at constructionready.us.

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