Our December Spotlight! shines brightly on two very diverse customers…from Maryland and South Carolina…whose success stories are very different but, at the same time, representative of the thousands of program participants who come to KRA each year seeking the education, training, and other job-readiness services they need to secure a better future. Guided by dedicated KRA Career Agents, Employment Specialists, Instructors, and Team Leaders, these customers are an inspiration to us all.
- Andrea Jackson wrote a candid and heartfelt letter to KRA “to commend…workers at the Brightseat Road location in Landover, Maryland. In particular, Ms. Winston-et Williams.” Ms. Jackson is referring to KRA’s Prince George’s County Works Tier I* program, and to her KRA Instructor/Team Leader. She wrote, “Due to circumstances (extended unemployment and a divorce), I found myself in a place where I never thought life would bring me. I have a Master’s in Counseling Psychology and a Bachelor’s in Accounting, have worked since I was 14, and was near a six-figure salary when my job ended. Yet, I found myself at my local social services office applying for assistance on October 3, 2011, one of the worse days of my life. But, the light in that very dark tunnel was the KRA Job Readiness office in Landover. Ms. Byrd, Mr. Black, Ms. West, and Ms. Nelly** treated me, and the other customers, with respect and genuine concern, which I especially needed on that day. During the next 30 days, I had the pleasure of being instructed by Ms. Williams. During my time there, surprisingly I learned a lot (I say “surprisingly” because I have been working for so long, and still did not know a lot of the information shared with me). Ms. Williams and her staff imparted their knowledge to us daily, but even more than that, they were so good at treating each of us as individuals and not like faceless social services participants. Although by early November, I had transitioned to Tier II, due to the job-search assignments that Ms. Williams gave for homework, on my 2nd day in Tier II, I received a call for an interview as a Trainer/Technical Writer. Because of the lessons learned while in Tier I, I am very excited to report that I have now attained full-time employment and will begin working on January 3, 2011. Since I have been in job-search mode for over 2 years, I can only attribute this success to God and what I was privileged to learn while at KRA. In a country where the face of social services has changed dramatically due to the economy, Thank You for having a staff of people who saw past my situation and provided me with the help I needed. Keep up the good work.”
*Tier I is the 30-day application phase for those applying for Temporary Cash Assistance benefits. During this time, applicants must comply with KRA Job Readiness Program requirements, which mandate a minimum of 30 hours/week for 4 weeks (or 1 month/30 days). In Tier I, clients engage in a series of Job Readiness Workshops and Independent Job Search Activities. ** Jazmyne Byrd, Reginald Black, and Nelly Batres, KRA Career Agents; and Lakeisha West, KRA Administrative Assistant.
- Jose Hernandez enrolled in KRA’s Lower Savannah Region’s (South Carolina) WIA Youth Program in 2010, and immediately began working toward his goal of becoming a Certified Automotive Mechanic. Determined to begin his training as soon as possible, he met his literacy/numeracy requirements within 1 month of entering the program. Subsequently, Jose was accepted into The Automotive Technology Program at Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College. Through true commitment, dedication, and hard work, he earned his certification, an Associate Degree in Applied Science, and a “Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges” award, in 2011. After graduation, Jose continued to receive KRA services and support, primarily in resume preparation and job-search assistance. Through the Carolina Labor Group, Jose found a job as a general maintenance technician. He realizes this might not be his “dream job”, but knows that in this economy, he is fortunate to have found gainful, fulltime employment. During a recent conversation with Jahkesha Abraham, his KRA Case Manager, Jose expressed how proud he was to be working full time; he enjoys what he is doing and knows the experience will help him achieve his long-term career goals. Abraham commented, “KRA is honored to have assisted Jose Hernandez in his achievements, and we look forward to his continued success!”