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Latest Blog Posts

Nory Angel, SER CEO, to leave organization in 2018

Posted December 11

On behalf of the Board of Directors and staff at SER-Jobs for Progress, Inc., we would like to share with you that Nory... Read more...

Capital campaign officially kicks off!

Posted September 21

SER publicly announced its Pathways to Potential capital campaign with a news conference held at the site of its new... Read more...

3 SER Amigos Gala Celebration

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Abel Rosales

Abel Rosales recognized he needed a change of scenery to make a better life for himself. SER helped him overcome challenges and officially get on a path to his ultimate goal of becoming a pipe welder.

“I'm from California, born and raised,” said Abel. “I grew up there, went to school there, and I wasn't doing nothing productive with myself. So I decided to move on to Texas in 2006.”

After a brief stay with family and eventually venturing out on his own, Abel moved to El Paso for a welding job opportunity.

“After that, I got in trouble,” said Abel. “I went to jail at the beginning of 2009, and I got out on September 19th, 2012. I got released here in Houston. I was in a halfway house downtown for nine months [while] I continued to look for welding jobs.” 

Abel wanted to be a pipe welder, but the training, credentials, and experience he had didn’t match what employers were looking for.

“I had attended… Industrial Welding Academy (IWA) [and] as soon as I finished, I was looking for a job,” said Abel. “It was really complicated… [employers were] asking for experience or certifications, and I didn't have certifications – I just had a certificate of training, which is good, but more for yourself to see that you accomplished something. For companies [though], it really doesn't mean a lot to them.”

While looking for jobs online, the 30-year old welding novice found an ad for SER.

“[The ad] said they were giving out free classes [to train people to become] welder helpers, so I said to myself 'you know something? If I can't get in as a pipe welder because I don't have much experience, I'm gonna go ahead and try as a welder helper’,” said Abel.  “I called and they told me they were certifying welder helpers with the NCCER certification. That's what called my attention, because that's a well-known certification in the welding industry.” 

Abel had quickly realized how important the technical side of welding and the associated credentials were in today’s job market.

“Even before I went to IWA and I found SER, I [basically] knew how to weld. But I didn't know the proper names of things, and the proper names of the procedures of welding,” said Abel. “I was what they call a ‘backyard welder.’ So I was looking to further my education in welding. I learned a lot at IWA, and I learned a lot at SER. My thing is, I got a family, and I want to take [welding] as a career.” 

 “SER really does help out. Over the course of the four-month class, they brought a lot of people to come and talk to us about job positions and things like that. They do their job by you getting training, you learning how to weld, you getting your certifications, and then placing you in a job. And I really liked it.” 

Immediately after finishing his training at SER, Abel was hired by one of SER’s staffing company partners. However, a family emergency pulled him off the job and seemed to put things in jeopardy.

“I had to take my wife to the hospital… we were [there] for a few days,” said Abel. “I couldn’t just drop my wife off and go back to work because of my little daughter – she is a year and three months old… I didn’t have any other options and I really didn’t know what to do. My wife was sick and she felt really weak [so] I had to step up my responsibility as a dad and help her out.”

Once his wife was well, Abel went back to the company the temp agency had placed him at to explain the situation and ask for his job back. Unfortunately this took a fair bit of time.

“The job said that they understood [the situation],” said Abel. “They told me they were going to go ahead and check with the staffing company and then talk to Human Resources to see if I could come back to work, or just get laid off. Also around the time that I was waiting, I applied and looked for jobs all over the internet.

“But then, SER called me and they told me that they were having some [companies] that they invited to come check us out at the shop at SER. I explained to them my situation. And they said 'we'd like you to come.'”

One of the companies SER was bringing to meet with students was HP Piping Solutions – a company Abel had applied to on his own, but never received a call back. Now, SER was giving him a second chance to get his foot in the door with the company and Abel was determined.

“If I [couldn’t] get in there as a pipe welder, [I was] happy to start as a welding helper because in the end I want to be in an environment where there's a lot of pipe welder helpers so I can pick up more knowledge and more experience,” said Abel. “My immediate goal [was] finding a good company to work for that allows me to grow my knowledge.”

With SER’s help, Abel was hired by HP Piping Solutions and shared that he loves his job. He is now working toward long-term goals with a clear vision for the future.

“I want to give it all I got to become the pipe welder that I want to be,” said Abel. “Also try to get financially stable, and finally make my family stronger.”