KRA YouthWorks! Customer Achieves Multiple Career-Path Goals

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.

Gaskin, Strong, and Womack

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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