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Success Story: Matthew Overcomes Difficult Background to Find Meaningful Employment

With help from our Education and Employment Services team, a client uses determination and hard work to overcome a difficult background and find meaningful employment.

Matthew came to Crossroads with a desire to learn and a determination to land a job and get his life on track. A case manager from The Providence Center rehabilitation offices referred Matthew to us, and specifically to our Janitorial Training Program.

When we met with him in December 2015, it was immediately evident that Matthew was looking to improve his circumstances. Matthew realized that education was a primary step towards his goals & betterment. In January 2016, Matthew became a student in our Janitorial Training Program, and during his first week he was given our “barriers to employment” exercise. This exercise asks class participants to explain their current living situations and determine the habits and barriers that are preventing them from finding employment.

The level of honesty that Matthew put into his work in that first week, as well as his steadfast participation throughout the course was noticed and discussed among his instructors and case workers.

Matthew's main barriers to employment were health-related issues, prior addictions, and a criminal background. Matthew cited a need for consistence and for more educational training in his life, which is why the opportunity to participate in the Janitorial Training Program meant so much to him. During the bitter end of winter 2016, Matthew kept up excellent attendance and acted as a leading team member in the class. Matthew came to class prepared and stayed positive throughout his time at Crossroads. As a result, Matthew ended up turning his life around.

The Janitorial Training Program at Crossroads requires students to complete an internship to gain work experience. Once Matthew began receiving his certifications (the program offers OSHA 10 safety certifications, as well as mold removal, green cleaning, and blood-born pathogen cleaning certifications) he worked with us to land an internship at the St. Martin DePorres Center in Providence.

As the weeks went on, both the internship and the class were drawing to a close, and Matthew began to worry that his consistency and the sense of worth brought on by the program would be lost. In response, we set him on a path to find employment.

Using a computer, especially to apply for jobs, is difficult for many of our students. Matthew suffered from this difficulty, but all the same he persevered and did not give up on learning to navigate a computer. This determination led to a great job opportunity for Matthew; he eventually landed a position as both a line/preparation cook, and a janitor. For the firsrt half of his shift Matthew prepares food and helps to cook food, and for the second half of his shift he is responsible for cleaning duties.

Early on in his employment, Matthew came to Crossroads to check in, and he was ecstatic to tell us about his progress. Matthew told us that his managers and co-workers are always complimenting him on his cleaning skills and his commitment to the job.

“I know there is much harder work ahead of me, but that work is what I have to do to get ahead in life,”  Matthew said.

Matthew has turned his life around, and recently received an award for a major success in his fight against addiction. He is working hard, he is on the path to recovery, and we at Crossroads are deeply grateful to have had the opportunity to help Matthew, and to see him be the best he can be.


Every year, our Education and Employment Services team helps over one hundred people like Matthew re-enter the workforce. To help more people overcome barriers and find meaningful employment and stable housing, consider making a donation to Crossroads today.


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