“It’s easier to get a job once you have a job.”
Chris Holt came to RecycleForce in March of 2013 with a dream and a plan. “While I was in prison I used to watch a show on A&E called uShip, and I thought to myself, ‘I can do that!’ When I came out, my idea was to get a truck so that I could do those things.”
Mr. Holt worked at RecycleForce until May of 2013 earning his forklift license along the way, which led to jobs at Westfield Steel and Superior Metals. During that time, he built up his credit to be in good financial standing while saving up money for a truck. “I got a pickup truck and started doing snow removal, lawn care, property preservation and a little bit of recycling. Many of the jobs I do are referrals from RecycleForce! RecycleForce gave me the avenue when I first came home from prison for finance. Finance was the biggest issue; being able to have enough money just to buy soap and toothpaste until I could get a better job and start building my future.”
Mr. Holt took the leap into owning and operating his own business. “Mr. Holt has been involved with many community-based organizations helping youth to stay out of trouble through the Watkins Park Community Center,” said Kenneth Alexander, Training Director at RecycleForce. “Chris serves as a board member for the charter organization Circle of Trust. With his work ethic, entrepreneurial desire to succeed, willingness to give back to his community and productive manner, it makes him an outstanding successful citizen of our city.”
With the help of RecycleForce, Mr. Holt started networking around Indianapolis to build his business providing lawncare, cardboard pickup and delivery, moving and relocation services, etc. He built up his network of referrals and now has a 5,000-square foot commercial building in which a daycare is run in one half and the youth nonprofits that he started run in the other half. The youth nonprofits focus around entrepreneurship and programs for kids.
One of the biggest ways RecycleForce was able to help Mr. Holt was through information and resources. “A lot of times we are committing crimes and doing things because we don’t have information,” said Holt. “RecycleForce helped me get that information. I didn’t know about credit, I didn’t know about establishing myself. RecycleForce opened me up to the different avenues to get help. It’s not that hard, you can get help! You just have to be focused and be reliable.”
“I would tell anybody that if you go in with the right state of mind of ‘this is my last go-around with prison and I’m going to get on the page of becoming a legitimate citizen,’ RecycleForce can help you. Whatever thoughts you have and whatever your dream is, RecycleForce can help, but you have to do the work.”
Mr. Holt is a true example of how RecycleForce’s transitional job program works. “I don’t know where I’d be without them, I really don’t. That’s the honest truth. The fact that I had the opportunity to be engaged with RecycleForce changed my whole outlook, period. My friends now own businesses or nonprofits, RecycleForce opened me up to a whole other world that I never knew existed!”