Tag Archives: single parent

Hitting the Ground Running

2 Jul

WheTiare Marshalln Tiare Marshall, a native Alaskan, moved to Texas with her now ex-husband in February 2011, she didn’t know anyone. In November 2013, Ms. Marshall relocated from Dallas to Austin after her separation to begin a new life as a single parent. When the former stay-at-home mother made the brave decision to start a new life in Austin, she knew she had to choose the right path for herself and her young son.

Ms. Marshall has always been creative and fascinated with the hair and salon industry. With the freedom to pursue her interests, she researched cosmetology schools and was accepted to Baldwin Beauty Schools in early 2014.

While in school, Ms. Marshall received childcare assistance from the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF), managed by Workforce Solutions Capital Area, and found an exceptional childcare facility that she and her son love. However, once she graduated in March 2015, she became ineligible for childcare assistance through CCDF.

“It was a really stressful time,” Ms. Marshall said. “I didn’t know how I could attend interviews without childcare.”

Ms. Marshall received childcare assistance through Travis County Continuity of Care, also managed by Workforce Solutions, during a 90-day job search period. Through her tireless effort, she secured employment within 30 days!

“The hardest part was being unsure about my employment situation,” Ms. Marshall said. “I would spend hours every day researching because I wanted to find a job that was right for both of us, not just any job.”

Theresa Nealy, who enrolled Ms. Marshall in childcare assistance at Workforce Solutions, credited her for being ambitious and goal oriented. “It’s wonderful to be of service to Ms. Marshall,” Ms. Nealy said. “She is humble and pleasant. I’m glad to see how our services enabled her to pursue her career.”

Ms. Marshall said the biggest challenge was balancing time with her son while going to school and job searching, but holding out for the career she loves was worth the effort and uncertainty. “I went through so much: being a stay-at-home mom to having to put myself out into the world of working and going to school and being away from my son. I had to really choose what was best for me and my son and make sure that both of us were happy and not settling.”

Ms. Marshall encourages others to find their passions and turn them into careers. “Even if it seems really hard as a single parent, it’s worth it to go through school and work toward a career,” she said. “Never settle, because you deserve to be happy, and your kids really deserve to be happy as well. A stressful job can affect a whole family so I wanted to work towards the right one.”

Ms. Marshall said that childcare assistance helped her hit the ground running in her pursuit of a career in cosmetology. “I really appreciate these programs [such as childcare assistance] because they help people get back on their feet. This past year I was able to achieve my dream career! My son and I will forever be grateful for this opportunity.”

About Subsidized Child Care

Choosing child care is one of the most important decisions for a parent to make.

Workforce Solutions Capital Area Child Care Services provide subsidized childcare assistance to eligible low- to moderate-income families in Travis County.

For more information about the program and to determine eligibility, please visit http://www.wfscapitalarea.com/ChildcareServices/ForParents.aspx.

Realizing Help IS Available

31 Jan

LaShannon Appleby - PhotoOne challenge, one hurdle can easily discourage a lot of people. Unlike those people, LaShannon Appleby accepts each challenge as being exactly that – a challenge. As a young mother of an infant child, LaShannon understands her decisions do not just affect her future.

After a tumultuous childhood as an at-risk youth in the foster care program, LaShannon moved to Austin after high school to pursue her education and a better life for herself and her daughter.

“I want my daughter to know that I’ve sacrificed it all,” says LaShannon. “I don’t want her to future to be my past.”

Despite drive and determination, LaShannon was unable to find employment that could support her young family both financially and time-wise. Her first job at a gas station did not offer a regular schedule, making it impossible to utilize traditional child care.  LaShannon had to resort to costly or often inconvenient baby-sitting requests.

In the fall of 2013, LaShannon enrolled in the Choices program and began working with her Career Counselor Susan Wondra.

“At the time of our intake, LaShannon was struggling to provide a comfortable life for her and her infant daughter,” says Susan. “Although she has no family support and had a difficult time keeping her job with no assistance, LaShannon has always had an exceptionally good attitude and a smile on her face. She has more self-motivation and drive than the average individual and because she is so humble, she does not realize the successes she has made as a young mother.”

Utilizing available child care services and transportation assistance, LaShannon was not only able to increase the number of available hours she could work but she also secured a new full-time job with a 50% increase in hourly pay!

“Without Ms. Wondra, my daughter and I could have been sleeping in my car,” says LaShannon. “I want people to know they don’t have to give up. There are a lot of resources in Texas. There is help. You are not alone.”

About the Choices Program

For individuals receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Workforce Solutions Capital Area offers one-on-one job search assistance and support services through the Choices program.  Choices is a no-cost employment program designed to give TANF recipients the assistance and support they need to find a job. Specifically, Choices can provide:

  • Job search assistance
  • Child care
  • Transportation assistance
  • Work-related expenses
  • Referrals to other community services

Eligibility for the Choices program and TANF is determined by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC). For more information about eligibility requirements, please visit http://www.hhsc.state.tx.us/Help/Financial/temporary-assistance.shtml.

Short-term Needs and Long-term Goals

28 Feb

Denitrea Crittenden - PhotoDenitrea Crittenden was a 27-year-old, single mother of two, receiving public assistance to care for her young family when she first came to Workforce Solutions Capital Area to explore the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) program.  Unfortunately, while she qualified, WIA funds had already been exhausted for that time period.

Not easily deterred, Denitrea worked toward her long-term goals and self-funded the prerequisite courses for a Radiology degree. However, pressing family obligations did not allow for a fast-tracked, rigorous academic load.

Two years later, after having completed the necessary prerequisites, Denitrea again inquired about the WIA program.  At that time, she was enrolled in the Austin Community College Radiology program and had a baby in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU)! The stress and cost of caring for her family had made it hard to continue to paying for her education all alone. Fortunately, the stars aligned and Denitrea was able to successfully enroll in the WIA program.

“Walk into Workforce Solutions and just ask,” said Denitrea Crittenden. “Let someone know your situation. No one can help unless you let them know what you’re going through. Don’t just wait and see. Discuss your short-term needs and long-term goals.”

Despite additional hurdles along her twenty month path, Denitrea graduated with an Associates of Applied Science and earned a 3.4 GPA and a place in the honor society.  While in school, the WIA program assisted Denitrea and her family with tuition, textbooks, uniforms, exam fees and crisis assistance.

Upon graduation, Denitrea worked with her Career Counselor JoAnn Rogerio and Career Facilitator James Helton to maximize her job search efforts and polish her resume.  Three months after graduation, Denitrea found employment as a Radiologic Technologist for one of the region’s leading hospital systems.

“One of the most helpful parts of the WIA program for me was knowing someone actually cared about my family and my success,” Denitrea said. “JoAnn taking the time to pick up the phone was comforting.”

This, however, was not the end goal for Denitrea.  She is continuing her education by pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Radiologic Sciences.

“Single mothers need to understand your life doesn’t need to stop with another outside life,” she offers.  “If you can take care of children, you can do anything!”

About the WIA Program

The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) program is a no-cost employment program designed to give job seekers the support and/or skills training they need to find a job. Specifically, WIA can provide:

  • Job search assistance
  • Child care assistance while in training
  • Transportation assistance
  • Interview clothing and uniforms
  • Tools needed for your new job
  • Funding for basic skills and occupational training

For more information about the program and eligibility, please visit www.wfscapitalarea.com.


Workforce Solutions Capital Area is an equal opportunity employer. Auxiliary aids and services are available, upon request, to persons with disabilities. Relay Texas: 800.735.2989 (TDD) / 711 (Voice).