TeenQuest graduate Mason Ellis discovered his love for working with his hands through his first job working maintenance for Linden Community Schools through Summer Youth Initiative.
“When I first got hired at Linden Community Schools, it was the first experience I had working with tools and doing physical labor,” says Ellis. “It opened my eyes and made me realize that I wanted to work with my hands in the future.”
Now, Ellis works as a laborer for Aristeo Construction Co. Ellis started his path to construction by working with the laborers’ union in Pontiac, which was able to secure him his current job. Looking forward, Ellis hopes to one day become a general superintendent for the company.
“I have been here just under a year and the company has talked about making me a boss,” says Ellis. “The position above me would be foreman, then after that would be superintendent, then general superintendent.”
To pursue this, Ellis plans on continuing to work hard, prove he has initiative and encourage and mentor his peers on the job.
The Swartz Creek graduate is taking the tools he learned in TeenQuest and applying them to the work he does today.
How do the lessons learned in TeenQuest help you today?
Problem-solving is a big one. When everyone is stumped on what to do it is helpful to be able to brainstorm what we can do to accomplish the task. For example, when working with concrete forms, you have to be sure to make it right, so it doesn’t blow out.
What tools did you use from TeenQuest when you worked with the union to secure your current position?
I was able to make sure I asked the right questions such as questions on healthcare benefits and pension benefits when I was looking for a position. I also utilized skills like having a good handshake and making eye contact.
What advice would you offer current TeenQuest students?
To not hold back and give 100 percent effort to everything you do. Keep pushing forward and don’t let your emotions get ahead of you.
What has been your proudest moment since TeenQuest?
Being able to look back and say that I started working at such a young age. It gave me a sense of freedom and opened my eyes to the world.
TeenQuest and Summer Youth Initiative are made possible through the generous support of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.