Casa to College students recently met with high skilled laborers from a variety of fields including an airplane mechanic, tunneling operator, a City of Alexandria EMT/firefighter, as well as a manager and director from the Alexandria Seaport Foundation. While they learned about various career paths from these workers, students also had the opportunity to learn about relational bridge building in the workplace.
Jose works as a welder and a tunnel machine operator, fixing DC’s outdated water system hundreds of feet below ground. He shared about his challenge of arriving to a work site to encounter a workforce divided by language barriers. He identified fantastic workers on both sides of the division, but over time mis-communication had created an uneasy and challenging challenging work environment. Jose chose to step up and used his dual-language skills to help bridge the divide.
He encouraged the students to also embrace their own dual-language skills as incredible assets for a changing workforce. His personal example was a welcomed and unexpected illustration of the power of bridge building and how courage can bring unity in the face of division.