<> AJ: My name is AJ and I’m 40 years old and I work with A1 heating, ventilation, and electrical. I had brain surgery about 10 years ago. I had bacterial meningitis and I had some brain damage as a result. I was a reporter. I was a writer and after the surgery, I just I didn’t have the mental capacities that I had before I got sick. So I had to do something different. my concerns were what was I going to be able to do, what could I no longer do, and in an employment environment being aware of your capabilities and the things you can and can’t do, it’s pretty important.I had been working with Nebraska VR for a little while after I got sick. And my counselor at Nebraska VR actually told me about the certification program. Carly: Certificate programs – they’re a short-term hands-on training program, they’re business led and so often times businesses come to VR and express a need of a high turnover area. In this specific one, it’s the HVAC helper position. Dana: What I find special about the certificate program is that it helps an individual who may not be ready for that post-secondary training, those associate degree programs, or bachelors programs. And they’re able to get to showcase their skills to an employer and be able to start working right away after the training is completed.AJ: My interest in the Nebraska VR Certification Program was learning a trade. I wanted to learn something that was going to last me for a long time. They had a few options for the certification program and the HVAC certification sounded like the best fit. Dana: We did some assessments to identify his ability to measure, which is a very important skill within this type of employment. There’s a lot of spatial aptitude that’s required for this occupation as well as mechanical aptitude. AJ: It sounded like it was something that I could be good at it. Carly: He started the training program and from day one he was very motivated and said “I am going to succeed in this” and that was a great thing to hear from a student.AJ: It was really great to know that Carly was there. There wasn’t any kind of you know here’s this program go off and do your thing. She was there when we had classes and she she talked to A1. Carly: Once he started his OJE here, which is on-the-job experience, I was getting information from the employer, his teacher, him…making sure that it was a good fit for him. As well as making sure that at the end of this 10 weeks, he was employable.Jesse: Meeting AJ for the first time hearing his story it was amazing. I mean, you know, he got interested in the HVAC field and he’s been with us for a couple years now. You know, [he’s] been a great addition of this company and right now he’s actually taking classes with me during the week to actually go forward to take his journeyman class. Dana: I have seen a lot of growth in AJ since first meeting him. Initially, he came to me it was just really unsure what he wanted to do and then when he explored options more he found that working here with A1 was definitely his niche. Carly: When I first met AJ he was really motivated to learn this trade and seeing him working full-time now is great. But, I don’t see it ending there. Whether it be additional training or moving up within A1. I think it’s a great start for AJ but I don’t see him stopping anytime soon. Jesse: Everybody wants to work and make a living you know and in what is AJ’s passion for it was great and that’s why we brought him on. AJ: Nebraska VR has really helped me see there is a light at the end of this tunnel. There is a whole lot of options and a whole lot of possibilities of things I can do and places I can go with my experience. <>.