Spend mere seconds in Johnathan Hatcher Jr.’s presence, and you’ll have a hard time envisioning his bright, effervescent personality detained for a decade within the confines of prison. Many people would abandon their ambitions or lose hope and emotionally crumble under those conditions, but not Hatcher.
“I’m always just an optimistic, open type,” Hatcher proclaimed. “My life has already had so many trials and tribulations and adversities to where I just always try to be positive and upbeat. I feel like I’m here to be the change that I want to see instead of just complain about things.”
That mentality combined with his irrepressible willpower has helped Hatcher endure hardships early in life and overcome the consequences of choices that landed him in prison—choices that could have curbed his ability to provide for himself or a family, never mind establish a promising career. But his positive attitude and persistence seem to be paying off.
Hatcher graduated in July 2018 from St. Louis Community College’s CDL-A Professional Truck Driving program, a 200-hour commercial driver’s license (CDL) program that prepares participants to enter the commercial driving industry as an over-the-road or local truck driver. Since 2015, the truck driving program’s comprehensive curriculum and hands-on training has provided students with the knowledge and skills to enter this growing field.
The SkillUP program is Missouri’s employment and training program for Food Stamp (SNAP) recipients. The program is funded through the United States Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service. The program is also funded through the Administration for Children and Families, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families block grant.