“Training changed me, it gave me hope” Cesar thanks construction training program

person in bright yellow hoodie and cap holding a certificate standing in front of a white board

Cesar from Austin, Minnesota was working third shift at a manufacturing plant when a friend of his showed him a flyer about Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) and the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) Highway Heavy Construction Training and Job Placement program. Cesar called the number on the flyer, reached Sylvia Garcia in the DEED CareerForce division and got on a path to a brighter future in cement masonry, recently buying a house at age 24.

“Training changed me. It gave me hope to always get better,” said Cesar, with deep gratitude for the MnDOT-DEED program and his instructors. After the initial MnDOT-DEED training, he continued his cement masonry training through the Local 633 Cement Masons-Plasterers Union. Cesar credits instructors and fellow students with sharing their knowledge with him so he can grow in his craft.

Cesar is now working full-time in cement masonry for Legends Concrete, Inc. in Rochester, and is on course to earn Journey-level Cement Mason after one more season. He’s helped create a lot of curb and gutters, as well as some streets, driveways and sidewalks, and now he’s working on a construction project at the prison building in Faribault.

“My parents were always working to get us to this point,” Cesar said of his family. His parents immigrated from Mexico and Cesar said they had to work hard and pay with everything with cash for many years. Now, they have their citizenship and things are easier.  

Cesar is optimistic about his future. “If you have an open mind, you can learn and grow.”