RTNO’s Warriors At Work Program
RTNO’s Warriors At Work program empowers veterans to achieve financial independence and increases RTNO’s capacity to repair the homes of low-income homeowners by providing job training and construction employment to homeless and unemployed veterans.
RTNO’s Warriors At Work began as a pilot program in November 2011 when RTNO hired four homeless veterans who are currently being housed and counseled at a Volunteers of America of Greater New Orleans (VOAGNO) facility. This crew of veterans is being trained in specific home rehabilitation activities requiring skilled labor. After one year, one veteran will remain employed by RTNO, and the remaining members of the crew will be fully equipped to seek new employment. Three new veterans will be admitted to the program at this time and will work under the guidance of the employed veteran from the inaugural crew.
Barry, Reggie, and DeAndra are three veterans being trained in construction skills that are in high demand at RTNO and across New Orleans. Homes that test positive for elevated levels of sulfur compounds, indicating the presence of defective drywall, continue to be discovered. Yet, few skilled contractors in New Orleans remediate defective drywall. At the completion of the program, the trained crew will have a valuable skill set that helps to fill this service gap in the New Orleans construction industry.
RTNO’s Warriors At Work in Action
Meet RTNO’s Warriors At Work
Barry, a one year U.S. Army veteran from Shreveport, LA, has been a resident at the VOAGNO facilities for over three months. Prior to joining RTNO’s WAW program, Barry was unemployed for three years.
Now a member of RTNO’s WAW program, Barry utilizes his military experience when working with his fellow WAW crew: “We work as we were taught to work in the military. We’re a team. We all value each others opinion about anything we do on the job. If you feel like we can do something better, or different, your opinion is valued. That’s where we’re at as a team. We get the job done.”
Reggie is a 10 year U.S. Army veteran from Mobile, AL. Before joining RTNO’s WAW program, Reggie was unemployed for three years. Due to his continued dedication to this workforce development program for veterans, Reggie has transitioned from the VOAGNO facilities, where he stayed for six months, into his own residence where he now lives with his family.
Reggie emphasizes how valuable RTNO’s WAW program is: “This is an important program because it gives veterans an opportunity to re-assert themselves back into the workforce and helps them continue to be a productive citizen in their community while gaining valuable skills. This program is changing my life.”
DeAndra, a four year U.S. Marine veteran from Houston, resided at the VOAGNO facilities for three months before relocating to his first apartment. Before joining RTNO’s WAW program, DeAndra was unemployed for 10 years.
DeAndra emphasizes his dedication to RTNO’s WAW program and the homeowners they serve: “I met him (the visually impaired homeowner) a couple times, and my heart goes out to him. We do the best job we can for him. I take it personally. I want him to be back in his house, as soon as possible. I would come here and work over night, to see him back home.”
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