Construction Ready Training Has Boosted Tyron Christopher’s Confidence and Led to a Happier Home Life
The tension was building in the Christopher household. On one hand, Tyron Christopher’s wife and children needed his attention. On the other, he needed to provide for his family, and his job at the time kept him on the road a lot.
“It was a lot of time away from my family,” Tyron says, recalling a 10-year career in highway construction. “But doing it, you don’t realize it until your wife says, ‘Hey, this is not working.’”
So he left his job, uncertain about what to do next, but determined to keep his family together. Tyron was trying to make do with temporary jobs when his wife saw a flier for Construction Ready at Westside Works.
“My first thought was, ‘I don’t have four weeks to give these people [without income],’” he says. “But my wife kept saying, ‘Just do it. We’ll be OK.’ So I went to the interviews and every time I talked to someone about it, I would feel a little more comfortable. I thought, with it being free and the credentials you earn, ‘OK, let’s give it a shot.’ So I did it, and every day my confidence got stronger, and it turned out well.”
Tyron graduated from Westside Works Class 21 in spring 2017 and was hired by Newnan-based High Tech Rail & Fence. He was initially hesitant about that opportunity, too, “because it wasn’t my background. But I decided to take it, to do something different, and after a few months I was promoted to lead, so now I’m running jobs and it’s awesome. Once I got the hang of it and saw the money is good, I was like, ‘Maybe this is something. It’s a real trade.”
With a stable job that allows him to be home every night, Tyron and his family are thriving again.
“You don’t realize what you’re missing,” says Tyron, who has four children at home ranging in age from 3 to 14 (plus two more in college and one in the military). “Everything takes a hit – your wife, your marriage, your kids. As a man, you’re just thinking, ‘I gotta provide. And as long as I’m working, they’re happy.’ But that’s not always the case. Now I get to be involved with so many more things with the kids. I’m grateful for all of that.”
Not only has Construction Ready led to a new career, it’s also given Tyron a new-found confidence to “step out of my comfort zone.” He’s even set a goal of starting his own business buying, renovating and selling houses.
“We have all the years of doing one thing and we get stuck,” Tyron says. “For me it has meant confidence. I think without going through Construction Ready, I wouldn’t have gotten the confidence of … wanting to step out there and take a chance and do something different.”
Many Construction Ready graduates become advocates for the program, encouraging others in their circles of influence to go through it. That’s what Tyron is doing in his Westside community, where he’s lived most of his life.
“I tell these young guys, ‘What else are you going to be doing for those four weeks? You’re just winging it every morning, so why not get up and go try it?’”
Indeed, as Tyron and hundreds of other Construction Ready graduates can attest, the sacrifices are far outweighed by the eventual benefits. And Tyron continued to develop his career by taking part in CEFGA’s newest training program, Construction Ready PLUS. Funded by a grant from the Home Depot Foundation, the curriculum is taught on Saturdays and gives students advanced construction training, the opportunity to earn additional credentials, and guidance in more nuanced skills such as leadership and decision making.
“When I saw Construction Ready Plus, I was psyched,” Tyron recalls. ”I said, ‘Whatever I have to do, I’m going to make time to do it.’ The excitement that I got from [Construction Ready], seeing that it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be – all you have to do is apply yourself – I said, ‘I can do this [Construction Ready PLUS].”
VIDEO: Tyron discusses discusses the confidence Construction Ready at Westside Works gave him, along with a newfound willingness to step out of his comfort zone. Follow us on our YouTube channel to hear about more successful construction careers in Georgia.