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Miguel Tucker gives a speech to graduating Building Futures class.
Rivet / WOSU

Miguel Tucker, 30, grew up in Columbus. As a kid, he says, he spent a lot of time around negative influences.

Danavan McIntosh programs the 3-D printer in a tech lab at Goodwill Columbus.
Leticia Wiggins / WOSU

During an early shift at FedEx, Danavan McIntosh made his way down a tall ladder. He'd done it a million times before. This time, he felt himself falling.

Amanda Wisniewski (right) and friend Caitlin Wingfield, who she met on the job, enjoy a Columbus crew game.
Courtesy of Amanda Wisniewski

Amanda Wisniewski discovered her niche while processing specimens at medical testing company, LabCorp.

“I found what I wanted to do forever, because something just clicked,” she says. “Working on the robotics and fixing the problems, it was the highlight of my day.”

Dashawn Hodge found his first job through the Boys and Girls Club's Summer Work Program.
Leticia Wiggins / WOSU

Dashawn Hodge is just a normal 14-year-old boy who hates cutting the grass.

“My mom told me when I get home, I gotta cut the grass,” he says. “I looked at her like, ‘No, I can’t cut the grass!”

Jordan Washington switched careers to be an electrician, which he's learning on the job as part of a five-year apprenticeship.
Rivet / WOSU

Driving a semi-truck is a job that gives you plenty of time to think – too much, actually, for Jordan Washington. He says the job paid well, and it was fun in the beginning until the monotony sunk in.

“But then after a while, I’m just like, 'O.K., I’m bored. This is not for me,’” Washington says.

Erica Miller at the Stanley Electric plant in London, Ohio.
LETICIA WIGGINS / WOSU

Like most kids, Erica Miller loved riding the merry-go-round when she was little.  Her mom took her often to the one at the Columbus Zoo. Miller was always more interested in the gears than the ponies, though.