Josue went to school in his native El Salvador until 10th grade when getting an education became too dangerous. Violence between his school and a rival school even led to two classmates being chased by 25 other teens with knives, sticks and other weapons. After leaving school Josue took a job with the postal service and as a motorcycle mechanic, his passion.
At age 26 Josue left his mother and his mother land to join his father and brother in Washington, D.C. When Josue first arrived, his brother tried to help him find a job, but they had no luck. This new American spoke little English beyond, “Hi, how are you? My name is Josue.”
In December of 2013 a few months after arriving in the country, Josue enrolled in a beginning level ESL class at the Carlos Rosario School. He knew returning to school would be the best way to get ahead. He remembers on one of the first days his class was celebrating the holidays with a potluck. He wasn’t able to contribute food so he didn’t want to eat with the class. But his classmates were inviting and welcomed him to join in the festivities.
It was a classmate who soon helped Josue get his first job in the U.S. He was making $15.00/hour working in demolition. Then Josue enrolled in the Carlos Rosario School job readiness workshop series. This six workshop series prepares students for the world of work in the U.S. They evaluate their career options, prepare resumes, practice interview skills and more. After the series Josue was placed in a cleaning position, which eventually led him to his current job in highway/road construction where he makes $21/hour.
Josue’s work options improved along with his English skills. Between 2013 and 2017 he completed all eight levels of ESL at the school. And Josue is now enrolled in the Spanish GED program. When he first arrived in the U.S., Josue had planned to get his Commercial Driver’s License. He said, “When I came to the school I saw different options. Now I want to go to college to study computer science.”
Once Josue earns his high school diploma, he is planning to enroll in the Technology Career Training Academy at the school.
At work sometimes Josue’s coworkers give him a hard time about studying. They ask why he doesn’t get another job to make more money. Josue says, “My vision is different than theirs. I want to finish school.”