CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Troy Kyse says he’s lucky to have a place to live and a quality job during the ongoing nationwide labor shortage, thanks to Grace-Mar Services Inc.
It’s a nonprofit organization helping struggling young adults get on their feet. He was homeless this summer, sleeping in his car, and finally moved into a new apartment last month.
Kyse connected with Grace-Mar in February. Its Youth-Build program provided him free job training and even paid him weekly just to show up. He’s now a certified apartment maintenance tech, or CAM-T, a skill set that would have cost him upward of $1,000 at a trade school.
He says Kenneth and Grace Smith of Grace-Mar made good on their promise from day one.
“We’re going to train you, get your CAM-T. You’re going to be working, and through that job you’ll be able to get that apartment. And it all happened,” he said.
Now, he’s a maintenance technician at a senior facility in Belmont.
“This job has changed my life ultimately for the better,” he said. “I like that it’s not a dead-end job. It’s a career I could see myself excelling in.”
He says like many other Americans decided during the pandemic, he’ll never go back to a minimum-wage job.
“Telling people get up and get a job — it’s a lot easier said than done for a lot of people,” Kyse said. “They want something better for themselves, but they don’t know how to get it.”
He says he knew he had to make a change for good earlier this year.
“My breaking point with the dead-end jobs was — I was working at Wing Stop. Just every time I clocked in, I felt like it was just draining my energy to just be there,” he said.
He shared advice for people who find themselves where he was earlier this year.
“Just don’t give up on yourself,” he said. “When opportunity knocks, you’ve got to answer and give it your all.”