Joe Moves Ahead Thanks to the Moving Ahead Program

“For precocity, some great price is always demanded sooner or later in life”—Margaret Fuller

My name is Joe Simpson. I grew up in a small town called Roper, North Carolina. There was a paper mill there called Weyerhaeuser, where they produced paper products and lumber for building materials.

The majority of my family worked at the mill, and this is where I first became fascinated with tractor-trailers, as some of my family members operated them as well. I have been around trucks all my life. It has been a dream of mine to become an owner/operator.

One of the first jobs I had was driving a dump truck for a friend of mine. I started driving dump trucks around the age of 19. However, due to some poor choices that I made, I had a setback from pursuing my dream to become an owner/operator.

Despite this, I have been able to make a turnabout with my life, beginning with earning my GED while incarcerated in Laconia, New Hampshire in 2001.

After my release from incarceration in August 2020, I was committed to a better life for myself. Although I faced challenges when seeking support due to my past experiences with substance abuse, incarceration, and more, I never gave up and continued to persevere.

Then, I learned about St. Francis House through the Gavin Foundation, where I am a member of the Peer-to-Peer Wrap Around program.

When I first arrived, St. Francis House provided me with the necessities: hot meals, clean clothing, and a case manager to help me directly. In November 2020, I started the Moving Ahead Program (MAP) with the St. Francis House workforce development department.

Through MAP, I was connected to sober, safe housing that allowed me to focus on my employment skills. Over 14 weeks, I received the proper training to re-enter the workforce successfully. I learned how to write resumes, cover letters, and I’ve been brought up to speed with technology. Now, I feel more connected and confident because I can do things on my own without asking for help.

In addition, thanks to the workforce development department at St. Francis House being a MassHire AccessPoint site, I was connected to the New England Tractor Trailer School where I will begin training in the truck driving program on March 15th after completing MAP this month.

Joe pictured here at MAP Class 186 graduation with MAP instructor Lisa Joseph and SFH President and CEO Karen LaFrazia

After serving my time and being released from incarceration, I was grateful for the support of St. Francis House. During my time here, I was able to find services in order to improve my life, to change my old behaviors, and to be more available to my family.

I feel confident that I will be employed after graduating. The outlook in this career is very lucrative, and my passion and interest in tractor-trailer trucks have only grown. My future plans include starting my own transportation business. It has always been my goal in life to work for myself and prepare a healthy business for my grandsons if they desire to follow in my footsteps.

Thank you for this opportunity, St. Francis House.