KRA Career Agents: Customer Advocates

Edward Wilson is 28 years old and married with one child.  On March 2, 2011, he sought out KRA’s services in the Waccamaw Region of South Carolina, with a goal of fulltime employment, preferably in the Construction industry.  Edward was assigned to Kathy Hammond, KRA Career Agent, who would be his case manager, coach, and counselor throughout his time with the program. During intake, Hammond discovered that Edward was eligible for KRA’s Adult Workers Program, and began working with him on developing his Individual Employment Plan (IEP), a roadmap for success that, in Edward’s case, would require a few revisions.

Hammond reported, “Edward had a strong work ethic and employment history. For 3 years, he worked as a machine operator for a local structural steel and plate fabrication company, and for 8 years in the Construction industry. Plus, at the age of 21, he had succeeded in obtaining a Certificate in Brick Masonry from Williamsburg Technical College.  But still his attempts to find a new job were unsuccessful.” Part of Edward’s IEP included career assessment tools, a TABE (Test of Adult Basic Education) test, resume development, interviewing preparation, and job-search assistance. Later the IEP was revised to include re-training in another industry sector.

Not surprisingly, Edward’s career assessment exhibited strong aptitude, interest, and skill in the Construction sector. So, Hammond worked with a KRA Business Services Representative to secure a paid Work Experience Contract, as a Carpenter’s Helper, with a local HUD-funded program for low-income, young adults who are experiencing difficulty finding meaningful employment.  Hammond felt they had struck pay-dirt, especially since the Construction industry in the area was so flat.  She commented, “I felt we had found a real ally in this program.  Their stated mission is ‘youth empowerment’, and they advertise construction-skills training, academic tutoring, and job-placement assistance!  But, Edward’s contract, which began on April 11, ended on May 5, without an offer of fulltime employment.” 

Going back to the drawing board, Hammond suggested that Edward seriously consider training for a new career.  Together, they decided on over-the-road training that would qualify him for a Commercial Drivers License (CDL).  Hammond explained to Edward that he qualified for an Individual Training Account voucher (i.e., WIA would pay for the 4-week training), so he would not be out-of-pocket for the cost.  Excited about this chance at a new career, Edward applied to and was accepted by a local WIA-approved CDL Class A training company, successfully completing the course on August 22, 2011.  Subsequent to intensive job-searching and interviewing, on October 26, 2011, Edward began work with a 73-year old, Georgia-based trucking company as an over-the-road driver. Hammond concluded,”I recently followed up with Edward.  He is still driving for the company and happy with his decision to try a new career path. I’m really pleased that KRA was able to provide this opportunity for him and his family.”