Austin, father of three, suffered kidney failure in 2002, which completely changed his life. His first kidney transplant failed and he had a second in 2016. The birth of his third child motivated him to improve his education. While on dialysis, he earned his GED through Adult Basic Education (ABE). While at ABE, he learned about the CMJTS Pathways to Prosperity grant opportunity, which would allow him to learn welding at Anoka Technical College. While attending classes, he made many things out of various metals such as a lamp, saw horses, and various artistic pieces made from welding blueprints. He completed the program with a 3.4 GPA and is now considering starting his own business.
“I am grateful for the positive support, ease of navigation, and helpful financial assistance during my time at school. We need to do a better job of getting the word out (about these programs) and not have to ‘stumble’ upon services.”