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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

Posted August 9

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Construction Underway on New Workforce Opportunity Center

Posted August 9

Construction Underway on New Workforce Opportunity Center Set to open April 2018 in Houston’s East End, featuring... Read more...

Maurice Thomas

The son of a decorated Navy veteran and the youngest of four siblings, Louisiana native Maurice Thomas was always living in someone’s shadow growing up. As a teenager, Maurice chose a non-traditional path by earning his GED and trying to pursue higher learning.

“When I was younger, my dad used to tell me all that time that if I wanted to make real money, the money was in computers—computers were going to take over,” said Maurice.

Maurice took his dads advice and enrolled in the University of Layfette to major in data processing and technology.

“I sought a little more education after [obtaining my GED], but what took me then was going to the streets and just doing other things,” said Maurice. “[I was around] 18, 19, early 20’s… It was that part of my life where I kind of started engaging in criminal activity.”

As the hustle and bustle increased, so did the severity of the crimes. What was once just something to do with his friends, now became Maurice’s way of life. His fast-paced lifestyle led to imprisonment.

 “When I came home from [prison], it was kind of like trying to piece everything together with bits and pieces of jobs and unskilled and trying to find the way but still living in a life of crime, uncertainty, and not really grabbing on to anything,” said Maurice.

With little means of income and his limited life experiences, Maurice reverted back to his old ways with his old friends.

“I was just drawn to the fast money,” said Maurice.

Maurice found himself incarcerated again. This time the stakes were higher – he was sentenced to 19 years in federal prison for weapons-related charges. In March 2017, Maurice was released from prison and was sent to the Leidel Center to begin his transition back into society.

“I found out about SER through the Leidel Center,” remarked Maurice. “I sat down with one of the career coaches to fill out the application – we went through it and [The Warehouse Forklift training course] grabbed my attention. This is what I need…This is what I would like to be a part of.”

Maurice’s primary goal in re-entering society was to find permanent employment. With the help of his SER career coach Maurice decided an upcoming Warehouse Forklift training (WHFL) course could be a viable option to help him move forward.

“[Mr. Lozano, the WHFL instructor] was definitely good!” said Maurice. “He was charismatic, in to it, lively, and made the class interesting. I really enjoyed it.”

After completion of the WHFL course, Maurice obtained his certificate and OSHA 10 credential in April 2017. Maurice joined several other graduates at the job fair held shortly after the graduation ceremony. Knowing this was chance to leave a lasting impression on the participating employers, Maurice used what he learned through the job readiness portion of the course and left a lasting impression on one employer in particular: The Greater East End Management District.

In May 2017, Maurice started working for The Greater East End Management District as a Graffiti Specialist for the Graffiti Abatement program, which helps beautify the East End community by removing graffiti in the area.

As Maurice grows and advances with the Greater East End Management District, he plans on obtaining his class A license in commercial driving, complete with all the endorsements.

“The [CDL] is something to have,” said Maurice. “Eventually, I want extend myself to the community-- mainly the youth population. With my experience, I want to work with the youth: I may have to drive buses, take them on field trips, etc. so this license would be great to have. I want to involve myself somewhere, someway, somehow within the community.”

As part of Maurice’s long term goals, he plans on leaving the Leidel center to be with his wife of 20 years and being more involved with his family.

“If it wasn’t for SER, I would probably still be looking – looking for a job and trying to figure it out,” remarked Maurice. “SER made a difference!”