As reported previously, for the Baltimore City Department of Social Services, KRA operates a Work Participation, Placement, and Support Services Program that provides comprehensive Community Work Experience and occupation-specific skills training for recipients of Temporary Cash Assistance (TCA) benefits. KRA also provides job-search and placement services, and when the customer has obtained and retained a job for at least 12 weeks, he/she is considered to have completed the program.
KRA’s Baltimore City office opened on December 5, 2011, and 5 days later, Crisie Owens, a 29-year old single mother of a toddler, enrolled in the program. Crisie had a high school diploma, as well as prior work experience, but had encountered circumstances beyond her control and found herself on TCA in October of 2011. Benjamin Zambali, KRA Career Agent, conducted an assessment with Crisie, determined that a blend of Program activities would serve her best, and provided career coaching and guidance. With the assistance of Richard Rice, KRA Job Coach, Crisie attended job-readiness classes that would prepare her now, and in the future, for employment opportunities.
Crisie’s preparation included Interviewing Skills, Dress-for-Success, Resume Preparation, and Job-Application and Job-Search Assistance. And, to foster independent action on Crisie’s part, Rice also worked with her on mastering Job-Search Techniques and Methods and using the Program’s computer resources to conduct online searches. With tax season approaching, and armed with prior tax-office experience, Crisie met with success on December 29, 2011, when she accepted a job offer as a fulltime Tax Assistant with a local tax preparation firm. Crisie started on January 4th, completed the KRA Program on April 4th, and stayed on the job until April 17th, the tax-filing deadline date.
As Crisie will always hold the distinction of being the first TCA customer to complete the Program, she was celebrated at the KRA office and rewarded for her achievements. Through the customer-incentive program, Crisie was presented with a brand new Netbook laptop computer, and reminded by Celeste Simmons, KRA Operations Manager, that “Even after successful completion of our program, you are always welcome to come here for assistance. If you ever need help finding a job…come back, talk to the Job Developer, use the Computer Lab…you are always part of the KRA family.”
Crisie’s success story continues. Even before tax season ended, once again she put to practical use the new skills learned at KRA, applied for a position as an Administrative Assistant at Johns Hopkins Medical Center, and has progressed to the final phase of its three-stage hiring process. It is expected that Crisie will be receiving an offer letter any day now, and all of KRA Baltimore wishes her much success.