Our March Spotlight! shines brightly on 20-year old Nigel Lewis, a participant in the KRA/SCWorks Youth Employability and Success (YES) Program in the Waccamaw Region of South Carolina. Nigel, a high school graduate, came to YES seeking career guidance and employment. Nigel had tried hard to stay employed: he had worked as a Guest Services Representative at a popular hotel-resort; as a Supervisor at Hard Rock Park, a Myrtle Beach rock-‘n’-roll theme park; and as a Customer Service Representative at several other facilities. But, at the beginning of each job, the end was always in sight, as they were all seasonal positions. Nigel wanted something fulltime…and permanent. Temecca Belcher, his assigned KRA Career Agent, reported, “Nigel always presented himself in a respectful manner, and was very motivated to succeed. From the beginning, he made it clear that he would go above-and-beyond to learn new skills to be successful in the workforce.”
Belcher worked with Nigel on developing his Individual Employment Plan, and reviewed with him the KRA Workforce Readiness Workshops that would provide him the most benefit; they included Goal Setting, Independence and Initiative, Finances, Work Ethics, Team Building, and Interviewing Skills, and others. Nigel consistently showed initiative: volunteering to co-facilitate a Workshop on resume-building, taking lots of notes, and reviewing with peers what he had learned in previous Workshops. Belcher commented, “Nigel was actively engaged in all Workshops and immediately took on a leadership role. Combined with his friendly and courteous customer-service orientation, I knew he would be a model employee for any company.”
Nigel completed all his Workshop assignments on March 28, 2011, and immediately was placed on a paid Work Experience Contract (WEC) with Horry County Parks and Recreation as a Front Desk Clerk, responsible for the sign-in of summer-camp students. Before long, Nigel was promoted to Camp Counselor, accompanying students on field trips, assisting them with homework, and conducting/supervising various camp activities. Nigel’s demonstrated ability to interact well with others, as well as his overall strong work ethic, caught the attention of Bonnie Fitz, Program Coordinator. Before Nigel had even completed his WEC-hour commitment, Fitz contacted Belcher and informed her that she wanted to hire him as a fulltime, permanent Recreation Leader. Nigel’s first day of employment was June 27, 2011.
During his exit interview, Nigel thanked Belcher for motivating and encouraging him, and stated, “I am very pleased with all of the services that I received through KRA and I would definitely recommend others to your program. This was a great experience. I can now have a positive impact on the kids at my job, just like you had on me.”
Belcher continues to follow-up with Nigel, and as of this writing, he is still employed by Horry County. She concluded, “Our KRA/YES Program was a big part of the beginning of a new chapter in Nigel’s life. I believe his ability to set and pursue goals, as well as his determination to succeed, will take him far in life.”