When Andrea Robinson grabs a sledgehammer and knocks down the interior frame of a house she’s renovating, she’s striking down more than drywall. With each blow, Andrea shatters obstacles including stereotypes that keep women from entering the construction industry. Andrea is a rising star in a field dominated by men. However, the road to success hasn’t been easy.
A series of bad decisions and a run-in with police put Andrea on the wrong path. Glancing around the halfway house where she served the remainder of her sentence, Andrea wondered how she would find a job. That’s when she noticed a flyer promoting SDC’s Absolute Advantage pre-construction apprenticeship program. She picked up the phone and called.
“From the very beginning, I felt that people at SDC cared about me and my future,” Robinson says. “I found a family that believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself.”
For over two months, SDC’s case managers helped Andrea rebuild her confidence and develop skills to become marketable in the workplace. While at SDC, Andrea benefited from SDC’s integrated case model strategy. Staff helped Andrea with employment but they also offered services that address needs like housing, mental health and long-term financial goals.
When Andrea completed the Absolute Advantage training program, she had earned some of the construction industry’s most valuable certifications. But more than that, she had a new blueprint for life.
In 2019, Andrea was released from the penal system. Wearing a beautiful polka-dot dress and a megawatt smile, she came back to SDC and spoke at a town hall employee meeting. With tears streaming down her face, she expressed thanks.
“You have no idea how much this program has changed my life,” Andrea said. “ I want to thank everybody. The people who got the grants. The security guards who greeted me when I got off the bus. My teachers. Something special happened here and it’s because of you.”
Andrea plans to open her own construction business specializing in renovation and demolition.