HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- It doesn't matter if you're fresh out of high school, or retired, the Chinese Community Center is making a difference in helping people in the Asiatown area get back to work.
With ABC13 Localish in Asiatown, we're taking a look at what's available to help people land jobs in the community. One place making a difference is the Chinese Community Center.
It's a place Minh Nguyen discovered when he moved to Houston two years ago. Nguyen doesn't like to be inactive. That was a problem when he retired.
"It's sometimes lonely at home, and boring," Nguyen explained. "I'm a doer. I like to do things, you know."
Nguyen has had plenty to do since he walked into the Chinese Community Center. He learned about an HVAC program.
"It's a fantastic program," Nguyen said. "It's also a rewarding career."
Nguyen enjoyed it so much, he became an instructor. Now, he's not the only one pulled out of retirement.
Other seasoned students, including Phan Quach, are learning to become HVAC technicians.
"It was very interesting for me because I want to learn. I want to know everything," Quach said.
For some students, it's not about keeping busy, but saving money. Normally, it can cost thousands to learn how to become a technician.
Through the Chinese Community Center, it's free. That made a huge difference for Jose Majano.
"It was wonderful because, at that time, I was moving from a different state. So that really helped me," Majano said.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said HVAC technicians make on average about $50,000 a year.
"Outside of working for a good salary, you can also get your own business and be very successful in that," DOHVAC instructor Ritchie Rogers said.
The community center offers more than HVAC training. You can learn how to drive a truck, or be a nurse's aide.
These opportunities are open to anyone.
"When I first started here and I had a lot of people ask me, 'Why would you work here? Are you Asian? Do you speak Chinese? And I'm like, 'no.' We deal with everyone," Chinese Community Center social services director Pamela Cook said.
It's a break not just for young people, but even those looking to keep busy.
"I don't think I could ever retire because I like working," Nguyen explained. "I like doing things. Especially when you're by yourself. It's boring if you don't do nothing."
To sign up for these programs, you can register through the Chinese Community Center's website and take an online orientation.
We also had an in-person job fair at the Workforce Solutions location at 13625 Beechnut St, Houston, TX 77083, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. There were a number of employers on-site, where they conductied on-the-spot interviews. To see the jobs for the virtual event, click here, and look for the "As seen on ABC13" section. If you have questions about the jobs, or the Chinese Community Center programs, you can call the ABC13 hotline powered by Workforce Solutions at 713-243-6663.
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