Alexandra entered the Bridges to the Future program in June 2020, as a 10th grader in the Keystone Central School District. Her goals were to receive assistance with career exploration and career pathway planning with the eventual goal of one day becoming a registered nurse. Alex’s motivation to enter nursing comes from the heart, for as long as she can remember, she has helped take care of her disabled sister.
Despite the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic, Alex attended two weeks of Camp STEAM virtually. Along with her peers, she learned about local opportunities, financial literacy, as well as the soft skills employers look for in candidates. A guest speaker from UPMC discussed job opportunities in their healthcare facilities, provided social media guidance, and gave the group resume writing tips. Alex received a $250 stipend for participation and had perfect attendance in Camp STEAM activities.
Alex never allowed setbacks from the pandemic to decrease her determination to begin taking steps toward a healthcare career pathway. She managed to apply, interview, and secure unsubsidized employment with UPMC. Currently working approximately 20 hours in the evenings and on the weekends in the dietary department at Lock Haven Hospital.
Once finished with 11th grade, Alex plans on securing a paid work experience with a participating health care employer. Not only will she be gaining real-life work experience in patient care, but she will be earning $10.35 per hour. Alex’s workforce specialist from Bridges to the Future will be there to monitor her progress and accomplishments.
With the support of her family, school, and workforce specialist, Alexandra is destined for continuing success. Her decision to enter a high priority occupation in the healthcare field will ensure job placement and job security in her future.
Carol came to the Lycoming County PA CareerLink® for help with her job search. Her job was a contracted position that was ending. To gain permanent employment, Carol decided she wanted intensive services, including one-on-one case management with a Career Coach.
Encouraged by her Career Coach, she applied for positions through meetings, phone contacts, and emails that matched her skill set as an administrative assistant. She said, “Working with the Career Coach at PA CareerLink® helped me to understand the loss of my job was not tied to my ability or work ethic. I was given the opportunity to take advantage of training and job fairs. I had access to online training to brush up on my computer skills. I had a fresh opportunity to look at a new career with positive encouragement.” Carol continued to explore the job market and applied for at least three positions a month. Her end goal was to find permanent employment by the end of January 2019.
Through a networking contact, Carol learned about an open position for the state of Pennsylvania. Her contact encouraged Carol to apply. She interviewed and accepted a Clerk Typist position with the Department of Environmental Protection. Carol said, “I would highly recommend anyone who loses their job to go to CareerLink. Losing a job can be a crushing experience and having someone to be a positive influence while you search for a new position certainly provides hope and opportunities which you may not have been exposed to.”
The continuing collaboration with her Career Coach enabled Carol to improve her employability through online training, attending job fairs, and staying on top of current job openings. After completing services Carol summed up her experience with the PA CareerLink®: “I am very thankful for the positive support, motivating ‘push’, and helpful encouragement PA CareerLink provided that guided me to confidently find a new job that I enjoy and have room to grow in.”
“The most rewarding experience is to know your Career Coach is working for you and having that extra support during a rough patch of life.”
Cletus was a dislocated worker who came into the PA CareerLink® Lycoming County in October 2019. After being let go from a longtime position with a specialized skill set, he knew he needed to consider a new career direction. He turned to the CareerLink® to begin his employment search.
Working with his career coach, David, Cletus completed an individual employment plan and reviewed his career goals. He received a Gold Level Career Readiness WorkKeys certification.
Meeting regularly with Rob, the site’s job developer, they moved toward achieving Cletus’s goals. Together they updated Cletus’s resume and cover letter, practiced his interviewing skills and searched for job openings. With Bob as an advocate, Cletus expanded his career search, discovering how to convert his prior skills to match possible prospects.
According to Cletus, “Bob connected me with several people and suggested jobs to apply for.” Currently, Cletus is the Director of Client Services for Homewatch Caregivers and in employment follow-up services. He remained determined to overcome his situation and his perseverance paid off.
Abdul contacted the Lycoming County PA CareerLink® after he was released from prison. He met with staff from the Link, a mobile career resource center, serving area prisons as well as surrounding rural areas. The Link staff recommended he connect with a Career Coach to assist him with his job search. Abul took their advice and scheduled an appointment with Amy McGovern, who became his Career Coach.
Amy reviewed PA CareerLink® services, including the On-the-Job-Training (OJT) program with Abdul. OJTs provide approved employers with funding towards the salary for a new hire for up to six months. Motivated by learning this information, Abdul approached a company that interested him.
He said this about his decision, “it’s a great opportunity to gain experience and get a paycheck at the same time. I had certification, but no experience. Schoonover Heating & Plumbing gave me a shot. Going into the interview knowing I had an OJT as my ace to play- really gave me confidence. During the interview, my lack of experience was seen as a huge negative. I took the initiative to inform them about the OJT and the benefits involved for them and myself. Once I mentioned the program to my employer, the interest was immediate. Win-win is an easy picture to paint!”
With the incentive of PA CareerLink® funding, along with Abdul’s skills, positive attitude, and drive, Schoonover Heating & Plumbing agreed to hire him through the OJT program. When Abdul completed his six months of training, he switched career paths and was hired by the Pepsi Company.
Eventually, when Amy contacted Abdul during follow-up services, he informed her that he just registered his own company. When asked if he would recommend the OJT program for others, Abdul replied: “Absolutely! Already have, in fact. I’ve come a long way. It all comes down to motivation. This program is a springboard, but it still requires you to take a leap.”
This year, in recognition for her determination, Danita received the EARN Governor’s Achievement Award. Congratulations Danita!
Danita has been in and out of the Central Susquehanna Opportunities, Inc. EARN and Work Ready programs fourteen times over the last thirteen years. In Danita’s eyes, these were just steps along her journey. Danita spent years balancing part-time work, post-secondary education, and being a single mother of two. She spent weekends in gymnasiums cheering on her now twelve-year-old son at wrestling tournaments while finishing homework and studying in between matches.
Danita’s most recent EARN enrollment began in May 2019. Although recently graduating from an RN program, she was working as a Certified Nursing Assistant, and not earning enough to sustain her family. Danita shared with staff that the cost of the test fees was too much for her to afford; they were the obstacle standing between her and her dream. EARN issued a performance incentive to pay the fees and Danita studied diligently.
In the meantime, Danita had transportation concerns. Her car needed repairs beyond its value. With a warm referral to the United Way, she became eligible for a car loan program that allowed her to purchase a reliable vehicle at a low-interest rate.
Once Danita passed her exam, she was promoted to RN Supervisor, making $35 an hour. She and her family are now stable. Today, she is giving back. Danita is a volunteer for the United Way, currently working on an Adverse Childhood Events (ACE) project. She is a speaker on community issues, specifically related to behavioral health and addiction.
Terry lost his job when the Wood-Mode Inc. plant closed in May 2019. He was a dedicated employee who worked there for over 25 years.
When Terry came to the Adult and Dislocated Worker program at the Northumberland Snyder Union County PA CareerLink® he was interested in training to become an EMT. After doing career exploration, Terry discovered that most of his week would be dedicated to traveling and training. Unfortunately, this would not be an option because Terry’s wife was ill and needed daily care.
Discussing the details of his long-term experience as a cabinet drawer, wrapper, and machine operations with his Career Coach, enabled Terry to create an updated and professional resume focusing on his strengths. Although the PA CareerLink® site closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Terry did job searches, completed online job applications, and attended virtual job interviews using a combination of Zoom, phone, and emails. Terry’s Career Coach discussed with him, the importance of networking which led to a job offer. On May 26, 2020, Terry started working for Legacy Custom Cabinets and received three other offers, as well.