Like all stories Fausto’s story is unique. But, like many we see here at the Catholic Charities Diocese of Arlington Education and Workforce Development program, it also shares three factors in common with other success stories we encounter.

Those factors — potential, dedication and effort — enable the people we meet to accomplish big goals. Fausto is driven by a strong desire to set a good example to his children and be a good provider for his family despite his daily challenges.

Fausto has been studying English for the past 7 years while also learning about welding and working 60 hours per week. In addition to coming to classes at the Manassas location of Education and Workforce Development — formerly Hogar Immigrant Services, Education — Fausto’s job had him commuting to Washington, D.C. and Maryland. He kept his focus on his goals: improve his English and eventually take and pass his GED exam. At one point he was sent to Winchester for six months to work. During that time he was not able to attend classes, but he continued pressing forward and didn’t get derailed from his original goals.

This month Fausto was able earn his GED with the help of EWD. Throughout the long process he encountered many obstacles, but his strong will and faith in God’s help enabled him overcome them.

Additionally, Fausto, who has been working for a welding company for the past seven years, is now working to earn his AC technician credential. He says that now that he has achieved his goal of attaining his GED, he said he now has the potential to achieve job promotions and a newly found confidence in his future.

“I realized getting my GED diploma will provide me with many opportunities, so I buckled down and got it,” Fausto says. “Now I plan to further my education as an AC technician and, one day, my goal is to become a civil engineer, with the grace of God”.

Fausto has words of advice to those interested in getting their GED:

  • Get enrolled in school
  • Be diligent about studying
  • Keep up the faith
  • Set goals
  • Never ever give up, since you will reap the fruits of your labor.

“[The] greatest motivation are my children; I want to be able to provide and have time to enjoy my family. I feel blessed in an infinite way and now that I got my GED, I feel very accomplished,” he adds.

“My GED experience was challenging,” he says. Fausto is very grateful for Catholic Charities, Diocese of Arlington’s Education and Workforce Development program, its staff and instructors for all the support they have provided over the past years of his English education and GED preparation journey.

Catholic Charities, Diocese of Arlington’s Education and Workforce Development program offers English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and Citizenship preparation classes. Classes are typically offered across northern Virginia in Sterling, Woodbridge, Springfield, Manassas, and Falls Church.  In recent years, EWD has added GED preparation and Computer Literacy courses, as well as courses to help individuals interested in working in the childcare field.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Education and Workforce Development in person classes have been postponed and classes are being scheduled online. Tentative start for online classes is April 14.

We are also recruiting volunteers to teach virtually. Email for more information on virtual opportunities.

Education and Workforce Development offers workforce training and instruction to give under-employed individuals, refugees, immigrants, and unemployed the opportunity to gain industry-recognized credentials so that they can be more self-sufficient and productive members of society.

__ Alicia Tocto is a Catholic Charities Workforce Development Coordinator