FRESH START: Jacobs grateful to Workforce Opportunity Services for another chance

Multiple times throughout his life, Mike Jacobs believed he settled into his final career.

At the age of 26, he joined the Marine Corps. After being medically discharged, Jacobs joined his father’s trucking company.

Jacobs later served as an advanced EMT before tearing the ligaments in his wrists.

While working an odd job, Jacobs’ wife, Mindy, found an advertisement for Workforce Opportunity Services on Craigslist and he decided to take a chance for another opportunity at a retirement career.

“I had pretty much shot all my chances and this was my last woo rah at a career,” said Jacobs, who started working for Odessa’s United Rentals in November 2017. “We had people from United Rentals that went through the step program and talked with us throughout the training process, so we had an idea of what to expect.”

Workforce Opportunity Services is a nonprofit organization that offers training to underserved and veterans populations. The nonprofit organization has partnered with more than 60 corporations in more than 40 locations worldwide. Some of the corporate partners are General Electric, Hewlett Packard, Prudential Financial and United Rentals.

Since 2005, Workforce Opportunity Services has served more than 3,800 people and 56 percent of them have been military veterans.

Jacobs took a nine-week course in Atlanta before accepting a job with United Rentals. He had a choice of three destinations — Florida, Colorado or Odessa. Jacobs traveled to Florida for a job interview, but wasn’t offered the position.

Jacobs had phone interviews with the Colorado and Odessa locations and wanted to accept the job in Colorado, but knew whichever location offered the job first he was going to take.

Odessa called Jacobs first. A day later, Colorado called and offered the same position, but Jacobs declined the offer. Jacobs, his wife and their three Great Danes moved to West Texas.

Once Jacobs reached the Permian Basin, the person that he planned on renting a place from never answered their phone. Jacobs, his wife and three dogs stayed in a hotel for two nights and quickly found out how expensive hotel rooms were once Sunday rolled around. He said his hotel room doubled in price.

Jacobs and his wife decided to stay at a campground in a popup tent for four nights instead.

The idea of Jacobs’ sleeping in a tent didn’t sit well with his branch manager and he said his branch manager immediately booked a hotel room for him, his wife and his dogs for 30 days. United Rentals also helped Jacobs with the deposit and first month’s rent on an apartment that would accept the three dogs.

“That was the nail in the coffin for me that United Rentals would have my loyalty from now on,” Jacobs said. “People say if you find a job that you love, you will never work a day in your life. I almost agree with that. We do a lot of physical labor and a lot of hard work, but it doesn’t seem so much like work when you love what you are doing and the people that you are working for.”

Jacobs moved into an apartment in Midland and stayed there for nine months.

His wife got a job as a receptionist at the family clinic in Stanton. After their apartment lease was up, they got a RV and moved to Stanton. Jacobs admitted he suffers from PTSD.

He spent about seven years in the armed forces before he was medically discharged. Jacobs said it took about two years to get back to full walking motion.

After he was medically discharged from the Marine Corps, Jacobs worked for his father’s trucking company. Three months after he started working there, Jacobs’ father was involved in a fatal crash and then the company closed.

Following his father’s death, Jacobs held another trucking job before he started at a hospital in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He started in transport, got his CNA license, moved to the trauma unit and his earned his EMT license.

Jacobs was an advanced EMT for seven years before he tore all the ligaments in his wrist trying to hold up a 300-pound man by himself.

The last 20 years have been full of trials and tribulations, but Jacobs said he appreciates the opportunity that Workforce Opportunity Services has given him and his family.

“It has been a new start from every aspect,” Jacobs said. “It’s a fresh start in a new town. It’s a fresh start in a new job. It’s a fresh start in a new career and the first place that I’ve worked where there is absolute room for advancement.”