Stephanie Stephens

Stephanie Stephens in Springfield, Mass., on Thursday, December 21, 2017 (Photo by Ellen Webber/NERCC).

Stephanie grew up in the Springfield area, joined the army at seventeen and served for three years, including two combat deployments to the Middle East. Returning home to Western Mass, she went to community college to become a mechanic, but was unable to find steady work, resulting in a period of homelessness. She was about to leave the region and head back to Texas where she had been based for the army, when she found out about the Carpenters apprentice program. She applied, was quickly accepted and immediately started working. Initially Stephanie didn’t have a car and walked to and from her 7 am shifts. Her construction job, with living wages and strong benefits, has enabled her to stabilize her finances, buy a car, get a better apartment, and start building a new life for herself.

It’s crazy that I almost left Springfield because I couldn’t find work and now I’m building a career and in a couple of years I can probably buy my own home.

3rd year apprentice Carpenter, member since 2016