“Towards Employment is no-nonsense preparation for the workplace.” Kathy needed a fresh start after being her mother’s full-time caretaker until her death from cancer but she faced the challenge of finding a job at age 57 – ten years out of the workplace with no experience with online job searches and applications. Kathy applied for WorkAdvance – a regional initiative led by Towards Employment (TE) with education and training for careers in manufacturing or healthcare.
She was accepted into the health care career pathway, with a goal of becoming a Patient Access Specialist. The program started with a week of training at Towards Employment followed by a 3 month program at Cuyahoga Community College. “It was way more in-depth than I expected, a week of all-day workshops on telephone skills, resumes and cover letters, behavioral testing and interview skills – even before the technical training!” Kathy completed a 3-month patient access specialist program and began her externship at MetroHealth Medical Center. She did such a great job that they offered her a permanent position. She is now working full time and gaining experience. Her Towards Employment career coach, Debbie continues to be a support. “I can always call with any question, and she calls or sends me emails from Towards Employment when I hit a new milestone.” Kathy feels a new sense of confidence and a commitment to her career. “I really needed to expand my horizons. This is better than I ever thought it would be!”
“Towards Employment gives you doors to walk through but you have to take the first step.” Leonard went to prison for a year at the age of 19 and then spent the next 10 years working odd jobs until another conviction at age 31 led to a six-year sentence gave him the determination to turn his life around. After his release, he struggled to find a decent job. He eventually enrolled in TE’s program for individuals with criminal records.
He walked into TE feeling he had lost everything, but then TE’s instructors Stella Shepard and Carol Dove helped him recognize his strengths. He started thinking differently about how he could apply his intelligence, organizational abilities, and people skills to the workplace. He also learned how to prepare for and succeed in a job interview. Two weeks into the four-week workshop, Leonard was hired. TE provided Leonard support including bus tickets and a uniform to ensure a strong employment start. He tackled the job with enthusiasm, working as many as 15 hours a day. TE assigned Leonard a career coach who continued to provide support throughout the year. Leonard felt ready for more challenge, so his career coach set up an interview with Orlando Baking Company. Leonard was hired and selected for their management training program. Leonard is determined to keep advancing in his career and in life. “I owe it to Towards Employment. No matter what hardships I face, the tools they gave me don’t go away. I still have hard times, but I can’t let that stop me now.”
“I can provide for my kids and be part of their life.” The routes may vary, but the end result is the same: moving from poverty to a paycheck, and from a paycheck to a career. After graduating from TE’s job readiness program for people with a criminal record, Daniel found a job earning $8.25/hour. “Even with a criminal record, I began to believe that I had a shot, that I could land a career position, not just any job.”
Through career exploration, and given his strong math aptitude, Daniel decided to pursue a career in manufacturing. With a scholarship from TE, Daniel enrolled in a 17-week CNC machining program at Cleveland Industrial Training Center (CITC). He completed his CNC training program with CITC’s all-time highest score on the final exam. In July 2013, he began working for a local manufacturer earning $12 per hour. Knowing he could earn and achieve more, Daniel and his TE coaches continued to seek new opportunities. He was able to secure a spot in CITC’s Swiss machining training at no additional cost. Daniel successfully completed the program in February 2014. In April, he secured an advanced position at Alotech. Daniel now has healthcare benefits and is working first shift, which is much better for his family life. “I made a mistake and it led me to jail; but it was a mistake not a lifestyle.”