SER-Jobs for Progress—Improving Lives...One Job at a Time.

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Latest Blog Posts

SER Welcomes Interim CEO

Posted January 19

On behalf of the Board of Directors and staff at SER-Jobs for Progress, Inc., we are pleased to introduce SER’s... Read more...

Start 2018 with a new career! SER is Now Enrolling!

Posted December 21

Participate in a hands-on training and get help finding employment.  Complete the on-line application ... Read more...

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...

Oscar Olmedo

Oscar Olmedo, age 40, had spent years on negative pursuits that took him away from his goal of getting a good education and then starting his career.

Born in Mexico, Oscar moved to Houston when he was only three. He was raised in an area near Gulfgate called Pecan Park.

Both parents worked hard to support their young family of seven.

Oscar had plans to finish high school and then go to college to earn a degree that would allow him to provide well for himself.

While his siblings took their educations very seriously - all obtained their bachelor's degrees and higher – Oscar ended up dropping out of high school when he was 17.

“I started to run with the wrong crowd,” said Oscar, “plus, I was by myself a lot, and made wrong decisions.”

Determined to get back on the right track, Oscar obtained his GED and joined AmeriCorps at age 18 for two years of service.

AmeriCorps is a voluntary civil society program supported by the U.S. federal government, foundations, corporations, and other donors engaging adults in public service work with a goal of "helping others and meeting critical needs in the community."

While there, Oscar taught English as a Second Language (ESL) at the Association for the Advancement of Mexican Americans (AAMA).

His service to AmeriCorps provided him with a scholarship to obtain his Pharmacy Technician license.

Although Oscar was on the right path again, he found himself drifting back with wrong crowd. He began selling drugs, not only for the extra money he could earn, but also to fit in with the group he was hanging around with.

“I got … steered away from my goal,” said Oscar, “and I started getting involved with selling illegal drugs.”

Not surprisingly, Oscar was eventually arrested and convicted on a marijuana charge. The drug conviction disqualified Oscar from obtaining his Pharmacy Technician license.

With his goal of being a Pharmacy Tech now out of reach, Oscar became discouraged.

“I kept doing wrong after that,” said Oscar.

A charge of Possession and Intent to Distribute Cocaine in 2008 derailed Oscar’s life even further.

Before Oscar served his time for that charge, he absconded. Oscar left Houston and stayed under the radar for seven years.

Then, in 2015, Oscar was arrested on yet another drug charge and ended up receiving a five-year sentence.

He was released in 2017, and placed on parole for the remainder of his term.

This time, Oscar believed it was his last chance to turn his life around. But, with little work experience and a criminal background, a job was elusive.

Oscar realized he needed some type of training in order find employment, and he was determined to find it.

Oscar went online and began to research trainings in the area that would result in a job. He found out that SER offers education, training, employment, and empowerment services, and that a free forklift class was upcoming.

He came to one of SER’s Information Sessions, and filled out an application, but had no expectations.

“I’m used to bad news,” said Oscar, “I really did not expect to be called back.”

Within days, SER Career Coach Jose Diaz called Oscar with good news.

The forklift class was beginning in a week, and Jose felt that Oscar would be a great fit.

His SER career coach speaks highly of Oscar: "Mr. Olmedo was a client looking for a new start after being released [from prison]. His background was mainly in construction, and he was looking for a trade that could use his skills … and forklift was a good fit. Mr. Olmedo was a model client, showing up on time and prepared. He was very determined and among the first in his class to secure employment. He had an offer from Gutier on the last day of training.”

Before the forklift class ended, SER’s Employment Services Team had sent Oscar’s resume to Gutier, a SER employer partner.

Gutier contacted Oscar for an interview, and he was quickly hired.

“Thanks to SER, I’m here [at Gutier],” said Oscar, “and, I’m blessed.”

Oscar encourages others who feel they are at a dead-end in their lives to explore what SER has to offer.

“I would tell anyone considering going to SER that they are committed to the success of their clients,” said Oscar, “besides offering great training programs, they also offer a job readiness class that will help you land a job after completing your training. The staff is always so positive and willing to go the extra mile to see us succeed.”

“I highly recommend SER,” said Oscar, “they believed in me and gave me the tools I needed to get a job.”

Oscar enjoys his new position as a forklift driver at Gutier and appreciates the opportunity he was given.

“I really do love my job,” said Oscar, “Gutier is an up and coming company.

Just recently my supervisor told me he sees a lot of potential in me, as well as leadership skills. It’s great to have an employer that sees what’s inside.”

Today, Oscar is engaged to be married and has a job with a real future.

“Life is great now,” said Oscar, “and only getting better.”