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Success Stories

A Profile of Kenneth Wade

If my life was a movie it would be entitled, “Nothing is Impossible,” starring Kenneth David Wade.    

I am 62 years old and employed with the Water Sewage Treatment Plant.  I make $24.50 an hour and none of this would have been possible without IMPACT’s Building Futures Program. 

I begin my movie with the happy ending because this is my new beginning…a beginning that started from a place of fear, doubt and insecurity.  I never thought that I would recover it all, but nothing is impossible. 

An injury left me disabled and all of my confidence was gone.  I’d worked all of my life.  I started out at the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation with a State Inspectors and Heavy Machine Equipment Operators License.  I’ve never been fired and whenever I left a job it was for a better job that paid more money.  I transferred from Local Union #323 located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to the Local Union #423 in Columbus, Ohio, and remained employed.  

After the injury, the thought of living off a disability check, going back and forth to doctor’s appointments, and trying to manage my pain, scared the hell out of me.  My life was completely shattered.  I felt helpless and was residing in the men’s shelter at Faith on Grant, but thank God someone left a flyer for the Building Futures Construction Trades program on the bulletin board. 

I was in orientation seated in the midst of young men half my age and I began to doubt myself.  A staff person told me that with my skills and knowledge I was more than qualified to be in that room.  He looked me square in the eye and said, “If you want it, go after it.  This opportunity is worth the frustration, anger and doubt, but only if you want it.”  That’s when I told myself nothing is impossible.  

In the classroom there were no blurred lines.  I felt an energy I hadn’t felt in a while, I was learning yet I struggled with the math…after all, I graduated in 1975.   I’ve been out of school for43 years but nothing is impossible.  I received tutoring.  The synergy of the teachers and students fed my confidence and I passed the test. 

When Building Futures paid my re-instatement fee to the Local #423 Laborers Union, I was back to the place I thought I had lost.  I said to myself, I will never lose this again.  IMPACT talks about the ripple effect, well, this was mine.  I graduated from the Building Futures program and received my tools.  I was hired by Shook Construction and began work at the Water Treatment Plant.  I started out making $24.50 an hour with the potential to make up to $29.00 an hour. 

Then I got a call from the Community Shelter Board, they told me that I have housing and my first two months have already been paid.  I also learned that my affiliation with the union could potentially benefit my children and grand-children in their pursuit of a college education.  After everything that I’ve been through, just the thought that I might be able to pass my trade onto my next generation makes me cry, unbelievable.  Roll the credits!  IMPACT’s Building Futures program helped me build a brighter future for myself and my family.  This is my story and I am living proof that, “Nothing is Impossible.”


*This story is a part of our "Life After IMPACT" Publication

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