My name is Franqee Higgins. I come from a single parent home where my mother worked as a waitress to support us. Growing up I went to 19 different schools and in High School I discovered drugs and gangs. I never thought of going to college and never thought I had anything in common with people that did. Instead I got wrapped up in the wrong crowd, making wrong choices. I knew that I had to better myself. If I ever wanted to change, I would need different surroundings and have a future to look forward too.
In 1995 I enrolled at Guthrie Job Corps in Oklahoma. I completed my training in Plumbing while at GJCC, and upon graduating from the program, could not get a job. I re-enrolled into the Job Corps program, but this time I decided to do more than just learn a trade… I was willing to do whatever was necessary to succeed, and find a career.
I chose a group of friends that had positive goals and a desire to succeed. I learned employability skills and what employers were looking for in an employee, not just the technical training. This time I graduated from the HBI electrical program, I relocated to Dallas, Texas and began my career as an electrical apprentice.
Through hard work and dedication I obtained my journeyman electrical license. I went on to work on some of the largest construction sites in Dallas, including the American Airlines Arena and the Dallas Area Rapid Transit rail system. I decided during my time as a journeyman electrician that I would love to become an electrical inspector.
I obtained my International Code Council Certification in not only electrical, but also in the fields of Plumbing, Heating and Air-Conditioning, and Structural construction. I became a city inspector for the cities of Mesquite and Wylie, TX. In 2006 while working as an inspector, I was nominated for and awarded the NAHB Presidential Award by my former Job Corps instructor. This award is presented annually to a former Job Corps HBI student who has advanced in the construction fields.
I eventually ended up working for HBI as an electrical instructor at Clearfield Job Corps where in my second year as an instructor I was awarded the HBI National Rookie Instructor of the Year. I am currently in my third year of teaching students at Clearfield Job Corps and attend college full time. I enjoy my career and wake up daily knowing that I have the opportunity to play a role in helping young people much like myself, unlock the potential for greatness that is inside them.
I am writing this letter to publicly thank everyone working in the Job Corps program for believing in all of the students that choose to take advantage of this great program. The program not only taught me technical skills, employability skills and helped me start a career; but it also instilled in me optimism for the future, joy of giving back and a desire for lifelong learning.
Thank you Job Corps for believing in us.
HBI electrical Instructor