Through the challenges of devastating life events, Damon Bridges needed something to change his fortunes and bring peace to him and his family. He found that, through the support of WDB and an apprenticeship program that prepared him for a life-changing career change.
Bridges’ seemingly impossible journey began as a young man, with dreams of attending a four-year university but believing it was out of reach. In 2009, his wife died of breast cancer, leaving Bridges to raise two young children while working two full-time jobs to make ends meet.
“The years passed and my children grew older. At 41 years old, I grew tired of working two jobs, and realized it was time for a career change,” Bridges said.
Through WDB and the Chaffey College InTech Center, he enrolled in an industrial apprentice program. “There were a lot of long days and long nights, but with the support of Workforce and Chaffey, things just felt right,” he said.
Then tragedy struck again, when, on August 21, 2021, his son Shemar was murdered. “In life, people go through things that will cause you to lose focus, but I knew my son would have wanted me to complete my goal. He was my motivation to complete the program,” Bridges said. He graduated in November 2021, and the next month was hired by Ventura Foods in Ontario as an apprentice. This past December, he was promoted to Maintenance Mechanic.
“I wouldn’t call this a success story because it is not a race it is a marathon,” he said. “There is so much I want to do for my community. I’d love to mentor the youth. Help them accomplish their goals and dreams. Show them that anything is possible if you believe in yourself and put in the necessary work.”