“That was the best job I ever had,” says Robert Nunn, a JVS ApartmentWorks graduate who went on to join an electrical apprenticeship program. “I was interested in earning more money and upgrading my skills.”
This September, Robert will be starting his third year in the program. He’s part of the IBEW Local 40 labor union, which serves motion picture studios out of Burbank and North Hollywood. “JVS prepared me for it and now I’m continuing to learn more.”
JVS ApartmentWorks is a free career training program that helps people get into career pathways that are sustainable and rewarding, equipping participants to gain skills and grow over time.
“I didn’t know what I wanted to do,” he shares. “I was mostly an athlete in high school and went to college to run and figure things out.” Robert Nunn was a high school track star, who after growing up mostly in the Cerritos area and graduating from high school, attended Cal Poly San Luis Obispo to continue running.
After a year and a half, though, Robert was struggling to pay for a degree he wasn’t passionate about. He dropped out and returned home to focus on working.
At first, he worked in the mall and in warehouses.
Then, he got focused. The City of Cerritos had an opening for a tree trimmer, so he applied. He worked there for close to 10 years before moving to the City of Pasadena to supervise their forestry department.
“I liked the job, but I knew I needed to earn more,” says Robert.
In fact, he recalls seeing his twin brother’s paycheck on the table one day. His brother, at the time, was in a five-year electrical apprentice program to become a journeyman. “I said, ‘Hey, we make the same money,’” he recalls saying, “But his check for one week was what I made in two.”
This led Robert to a local job center. That’s where he saw that a representative from JVS SoCal’s ApartmentWorks career training program was going to hold a presentation. “I made sure I came that day,” he says. “It was drywall, paint, plumbing, etc.—all the things I like to do all in one.”
Robert applied for the program. He went through an interview and background check and once cleared, was invited to take part in it. Completing ApartmentWorks would prepare him to become a Certified Apartment Maintenance Technician, a nationwide certification program accredited by the National Apartments Association.
“The program broke down so much more than I even knew it was about,” he says. “I learned a little bit of everything, from appliances to painting to going in and getting a rental ready after someone moves out.”
At graduation, like other participants, Robert interviewed with a representative at Greystar, a global property management company. Each ApartmentWorks graduation features an exclusive mini-job fair for participants. Thereafter, ApartmentWorks offers continued job-search assistance and employment referrals.
In this phase of his career, Robert loves that he gets to help build everything from stages to rides. “It’s exciting,” he shares. “We just did a Warner Brothers studio designed by Frank Gehry. It feels like you’re a part of history.”
He’s also excited to “journey out” at the end of his program. “If I want to go to Hawaii or out of the country, I sign the books and can start working there. Once I pass the test, I’ll have learned about all the different options and can decide.”
Now, that’s something to definitely keep running toward!