A year ago Marcos Soto was working as a helper/grinder in a welding shop. This low paying, labor intensive job was the only type of job he had ever held.
Soto, now 42 years old, was recently released from prison after eight-and-a-half years. He wanted to find a better job but knew his status as a felon wasn’t the only way his job possibilities were limited. He wanted to become a welder but without training, hands-on experience and enough practice, he would not be able to pass the exams so he could earn the required certifications.
As much as Soto wanted to get ahead, he simply was not able to do so on his own. His small salary made it too difficult to save up the $3,000 needed to enroll in the welder fabrication courses provided by Pro-Weld Welding School in Nampa.
Luckily, a friend referred Soto to the Idaho Department of Labor where he met with Michael LeDuc, a workforce consultant in the Boise office. LeDuc met with Soto and told him about the Workforce and Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) program and found Soto also qualified for job training assistance from Vocational Rehabilitation. Soto said he was thrilled to find out he qualified for a grant which covered the cost of the welding classes and paid for enough tools to get him started.