May 2018…Keniya Strong, 22, and mother of a 4-year old daughter, enrolled in the YouthWorks! career-development program, operated by KRA for the Anne Arundel Workforce Development Corporation (AAWDC), developer of the Maryland Workplace Excellence Program that combines career assessment and guidance with workplace-skills training to equip young jobseekers with resources that maximize potential for workforce success.
A lack of marketable job skills was the most obvious barrier to sustainable employment for Keniya. However, contributing factors included lack of childcare and an unstable home environment, challenges confronted head-on by Vinaeja Gaskin, Outreach Specialist, and Shandra Womack, Case Manager.
Vinaeja referred Keniya to the Department of Social Services, through which she received vouchers, providing funds for private-childcare services until her daughter enrolled in school. To improve her housing situation, Shandra counseled Keniya intensively as to how to cope with the unpleasant circumstances until she can afford a place of her own.
Keniya achieved her GED through the Anne Arundel Community College (AACC) in December 2018, and it was during YouthWorks! Career Exploration Workshops that she expressed a genuine interest in pursuing a career in healthcare, caring for patients one-on-one.
May 2019…Keniya graduated from an AACC Patient Care Technician Training Program, followed almost immediately with job placement as a fulltime Home Health Aide, at $16.00 an hour, with a local healthcare-services company.
Summing up her year-long YouthWorks! experience, Keniya expressed her gratitude with, “I came to AAWDC for a job and help with my GED…I never knew I would get this much help. Ya’ll are family!”
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