We always knew that it took help from across our network of supporters when we began to do impactful reentry work to uplift members of L.A.'s formerly-incarcerated community and empower them with solar jobs. In December, supporters responded to our requests and raised over $16,000 for GLA's Solar Jobs and Second Chances campaign. This month, two returning citizens began paid Construction internships, an important step forward on their path to securing employment, as part of our help bringing individuals like them to the solar industry. Byron Bonty and Juan Gómez are off to a strong start as our first two paid reentry interns. Their initiative is succeeding because we made it possible to offer this high-quality training to job-seekers with the most serious needs.
Byron and Juan both found a roadmap to restart their lives with Homeboy Industries after their experiences in prison. Each was referred to solar in 2017 after signing up with Homeboy Industries. As Juan puts it, training on the GLA team is a chance to add something productive to society after reflecting on how he could contribute differently. Last year, he even had a chance to speak to Univision about why solar is the right path for him. Byron, for his part, says: "I want to be a full electrician. And I'm a very quick learner. Since reentering, I'm more of a humble person." As he trains with us, he can already see his dream of owning his own business closer to fulfillment.
Through solar workforce development, Byron and Juan received the invitation to start their professional lives anew and be paid for their time. After a week in his internship, Byron told us, "I love to make the homeowners happy, and I love to let them know that I'm reducing their bill." We're proud of what your support has made possible for these two young men: solar second chances.