Last updated on May 20, 2022
Dallas native Taiveon Seamster hopes his graduation in a few weeks is one of many.
“I’m pumped, I’m excited for it. I cannot wait — I love school,” he said.
Seamster, age 24, will graduate this May with a certificate in operating heavy equipment through the Texas Department of Transportation’s Connect U2Jobs Program, a Highway Construction Workforce Partnership pilot created to fill a need for a skilled highway construction workforce. Seamster takes classes a few days a week and works on-site for a construction company the rest of the week. Seamster started the 12-week course after a local pastor recommended the program while he was volunteering with the homeless at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center Dallas.
CU2J is the first step in creating a sustainable pipeline of skilled workforce for the transportation industry, which is critical to maintain safe roads in Texas. To ensure success, CU2J includes a variety of local partners such as community organizations, education agencies, and industry employers. For more information, visit TxDOT’s ConnectU2Jobs web site.
Seamster was previously enrolled at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor where he studied criminal justice and played football for two years. However, at the end of his sophomore year he decided to return home to help his mother raise his five younger siblings. He got a job at Amazon, but never let go of his dream of going back to college.
“(College) was a really great experience. I really wish I could have finished. I would love to go back and complete everything I need to do, but overall, I enjoyed it. It was a pretty great experience,” he said.
Seamster never considered working in construction prior to enrolling at Dallas College, but he’s enjoyed learning the trade and looks forward to the benefits a higher-paying job will offer his family. He credits the close-knit community within the Career Connected Experiential Learning team and their excellent mentorship to his, and others, success in the program. Seamster specifically referenced the benefits of the case managers at Dallas College partner Lone Star Justice Alliance who support the students’ overall success.
“Ms. Myrick (Clark), she’s just taken us up under her wing. She makes sure we’re all situated, like with rides to work. If we don’t have money for a bill or something, some way, somehow, they’ll donate money to you to make sure it gets paid,” he said.
Seamster promises that this isn’t his last graduation. He’s eyeing the police training programs offered by Dallas College and still hopes to finish his degree in criminal justice one day.
But for anyone hesitant about going to college – or maybe returning – he says jump right in. If you stay positive and push through, there’s nothing you can’t accomplish.
“I definitely think everyone’s capable of doing it, no matter your situation. You just can’t let it cloud your headspace. You can’t let it take over. You have to keep your head forward, keep pushing and stay motivated,” he said. “If you’re going to do it, take it by its horns. Don’t give up on it.”