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From Career Uncertainty to Apprentice: The Journey of the Trades

Betsy Ennis

Everyone’s path to success looks a little different, including the path of Caden Lincicum. From starting the Operation Fresh Start program as a reserved, quiet guy who was unsure of what career he wanted to pursue. To becoming an award-winning carpenter apprentice, here is Caden’s story.


JP Cullen is privileged to work with not only the most giving people but the most thoughtful organizations as well. Operation Fresh Start is one of those companies.

Operation Fresh Start Program Background

Operation Fresh Start (OFS) develops programs designed for the most critical time in life: adulthood. Since its launch in 1970, OFS has empowered more than 8,000 adults to find a family-sustaining career. They do this by constructing a pathway to earn high school diplomas, driver’s licenses, and certifications in the construction and conservations fields, along with obtaining college or career readiness skills.

Caden Linicium is an Apprentice at JP Cullen and recently graduated from the OFS program in June.

Before joining the program, Caden dropped out of high school and wasn’t in a good place. He joined the Legacy pre-apprenticeship program to get a taste of the construction industry and earn his high school diploma. Caden was able to get his feet wet and work on building affordable housing. While working through his program, he initially planned on attending college and working towards becoming a psychiatrist.

His path changed when he decided that he wanted to continue a career path in the trades. “Doing construction helped me see that I couldn’t help people mentally – I can help them physically building affordable homes or working on projects like healthcare facilities.”

Caden credits OFS and his constriction supervisors for making the process much easier on him. “Miles was super nice. So, every day when I got to work, I could look forward to not struggling, because I would ask him questions and he would answer them. All of the supervisors I’ve had now at OFS – they were very open and never put me down.” Caden went on to the advanced-level construction training program called Build Academy, where he joined JP Cullen as a carpenter apprentice.



his year Operation Fresh Start recognized Caden as the 2022 Build Academy Participant of the Year. This award honors a young adult who has shown incredible growth, leadership, and dedication to their path of self-sufficiency. Caden’s story is just one example of the empowering and life-changing programs that OFS provides. We are lucky to have a partnership with an organization that provides such life-changing mentorship in our community.

If you are interested in learning more about the Operation Fresh Start Program and opportunities in the trades, please check out OFS’s website, or reach out to our Apprenticeship Leader You can learn more about JP Cullen and apply for open trade positions here.



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