From homeless to helping veterans stay off the streets

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Formerly homeless vet now helping others change lives. (KTRK)

A U.S. Air Force veteran went from homeless to helping other veterans stay off the streets.

He owns a tech company. And thanks to a grant from the Texas Workforce Commission, he's now training men and women for in-demand tech careers like fiber optics.

An accident ended Risheem Muhammad's career in the U.S. Air Force early. Fast forward, and he lost his wife to bone cancer in 2013. Then life unraveled.

"So I ended up losing my home, becoming a homeless veteran. I had a decision to make," he said. "Was I going to work or restructure the business?"

Muhammad lived out of the office at his special trades construction company in Bellaire while trying to find services for homeless and disabled vets. Things changed when he got to the right person at Workforce Solutions.

"I said, hey is there anything out there that could support the veterans because here's what I went through. And here's a solution to probably alleviate some of the stress a veteran was going through at that time."

That solution was training veterans to get in-demand tech jobs. The Texas Workforce Commission gave his company a grant to train veterans it refers.

Skyler Weislogel was one of the first in the program. Now he's a fiber optic technician.

"He had something for veterans specifically coming up with fiber optics. I know fiber is the way of the future so I was like yeah let's do this, let me look into it," Weislogel said. "You're somewhere new every day. Your office changes. The pay and benefits are great, too."

A group from Ellington Field wrapped up training last week. Muhammad already has plans to expand.

"I've taken what I went through and made a success story out of it instead of trying to figure out what society had to offer," he said. "I wanted to be able to offer change and opportunities for other veterans to better themselves and be self-sufficient."
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