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Denver nonprofit helps young men, women land high-paying trade jobs; "They help you be your best person"

Denver nonprofit helps young men, women land high-paying trade jobs; "They help you be your best per
Denver nonprofit helps young men, women land high-paying trade jobs; "They help you be your best per 02:22

Right now, Coloradans are struggling to make ends meet, and a nonprofit in Denver is providing opportunities to change that.

The Master's Apprentice helps young men and women land jobs in the trade fields. It's a six-week program developed by two men passionate about getting others on their feet.


"We find the diamonds in the rough. We polish the edge, sand, make them more presentable," Chief Operating Officer Scott Flores said.

"It's a vehicle to catapult them, so they can get in a career trajectory to provide economic security and social mobility," Executive Director Luis Villarreal elaborated. "We have a simple model, and we also teach them soft skills, so they're set up to be interviewed by the top commercial companies that pay for apprenticeships and they can start in a commercial position."

The pair had a vision a little over 10 years ago, which developed into the organization. 

"To create a bridge between the companies that were desperately in need of employees and young adults and inner-city youth that we work with," Flores said. "It's an intense pre-apprenticeship program, Monday through Friday, full-time, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the morning; they'll have four classroom sessions. So, generally at about week three or four, they nail down which career they want to choose. They get a little buffet menu -- taste of this a taste of that."

Students are typically in their twenties, but they've lived a lot of life so far. 

"Maybe they're getting out of jail, they've got a baby on the way, or mom kicked them out of the basement. All the X, Y and Z generations are realizing, 'I can go make a six-figure income and have no college debt and have the freedom that I want to have over the weekend,'" Flores added.

Marqel Grant-Elliston is one such Gen-Z member of the program. With a steady hand and a bit of patience, he's learning the art of welding from The Master's Apprentice program.

"Just putting things together and seeing what I can create as of right now," Grant-Ellison said. "I was interested in trades, and I have a little background with HVAC, so I've been trying to find a pre-apprenticeship program like this one. I love it. The staff is very supportive."

In the same class, Elissa Barahona is also adding new tools to her toolbox, sharpening her skills as a woodworker. "I would love to become something else greater. They help you be your best person," she said.

With those aspirations, students also gain financial freedom for their families. 

"I have a -- just turned [1 years old] -- freshly new baby girl with my spouse," Barahona said. "But we want to grow our family."

And once complete, students are set for life.

"I'm very thankful," Grant-Elliston said with a smile.

The Master's Apprentice is currently taking applications for all students. Anyone interested can visit the nonprofits website to apply. 

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