Louis Bruton

This story is part of our “Reach Your Potential” series, which features individuals from our Jobs Waiting TechHire program.

As a child of parents who were in the Army, Louis Bruton was always on the move. Born in the Netherlands, he relocated to Oklahoma when in grade school with his mother and sister to live among extended family. By middle school, he moved again: this time, to Mt. Vernon. When his mother lost her job, and was faced with the prospect of moving into a homeless shelter, she sent Bruton back to Oklahoma to attend high school.

 

With the support of his Aunt, Bruton graduated from Capitol High School in Oklahoma City. Itching to make a fresh start for himself—and to return to his long-distance girlfriend in New York – he moved back East, and found work at an array of retail stores. He helped to open the Loews Ridge Hill store in Yonkers, and completed seasonal stints at Target.

But, he felt trapped. “I felt really stuck. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, or how to take the first step to changing the direction of my life,” recalls Bruton. “I thought I would be stuck in a minimum wage job for the rest of my life. I didn’t care where I went.”

Bruton saw himself as the biggest obstacle for moving forward. Fortunately, he sought therapy for ongoing anxiety issues. When his mother suggested visiting the career center in Mt. Vernon, he had his doubts. “All I’d ever been told when I tried to advance my life was ‘no.’ Over time, that led to me being pessimistic about every opportunity that came my way.”

Ready to move forward

But one day, he took a chance. He signed up for the Jobs Waiting Tech Hire program. He says it was the best decision he’s ever made.

“I was quiet, shy, and lacked confidence. Then I met some amazing people —people who have been on similar paths as mine. It made me realize I’m not alone.”

After five weeks of the program’s career readiness training, Bruton says he is motivated to move forward. The practical skills, like developing a resume and practicing job interviews, helped. And the support he received from the program staff has been invaluable, he says.

“This program has taught me a lot: from learning how to tie a tie and how to firmly shake a hand, to how to use my voice and carry myself as a man. A big part of the program has been the sense of self-worth I have gained and how to turn my words into actions.”

He’s now going on to complete a certificate in computer programming. He’s taken his passion — gaming and technology — and turned it into a career path. He plans to earn a bachelor’s degree in information technology and hopes to land his dream job of working for Blizzard or Square Enix, game development and entertainment software companies. He’s on the move now, but up the career ladder.

 

 

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