Tag Archives: unemployment

Driven to Succeed

18 Apr


Viginus Nwokonkwo

Viginus Nwokonkwo enrolled in the Workforce and Education Readiness Continuum (or WERC) seeking employment assistance.  However, soon after enrolling, Viginus had to return home to Nigeria to tend to a death in the family. In June of 2014, upon return to the United States, Viginus began training for a Commercial Driver’s License.

During training, he was sleeping on a friend’s couch and experiencing car troubles. Determined to complete his training, however, Viginus borrowed a friend’s car and made the long commute. Unfortunately, his challenges did not end with transportation.  Viginus was also dealing with custody issues for his daughter while in training.

Rather than be swayed or defeated by these challenges, Viginus was driven.  He was determined to get back on his feet.  Viginus graduated from Austin Community College’s CDL program and found full-time employment with Gemini, a trucking company that transports crude oil throughout the United States.

He is no longer dependent on friends for a place to live or a car to use and is establishing a better life for himself and his daughter.

Viginus also remains grateful for the assistance and support he received from Workforce Solutions and the WERC program.  He is always willing to help current WERC clients who have any questions about CDL or are interested in working for Gemini.

About WERC

The Workforce and Education Readiness Continuum (WERC) provides client services ranging from Adult Basic Education (ABE) and English as a Second Language (ESL) to job readiness instruction and occupational training with the goal of empowering clients with the skills they need to advance their employment opportunities and realize their economic potential. For more information program specifics and eligibility requirements, please visit www.wercaustin.com

Finding Ways to Give Back

23 Nov

PhotoDaniel Cardenas’ father always told him to give back to the community and to those who are less fortunate. Daniel graduated from the University of Texas in Austin (UT) in 2003 without having a clear idea of what he wanted to do with his life. After being laid off from an accounting firm in 2013, Daniel decided he was ready to practice what his father preached.

“When I got laid off, I didn’t have marketable skills other than basic office skills,” Daniel said. He decided that a career in healthcare would give him job security and a good paycheck, and would also allow him to interact with ill people who needed his help. He decided to pursue a career in nursing and enrolled full-time in a rigorous course load at Austin Community College (ACC).

Daniel worked at a drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility while he was in nursing school, but he struggled with being a full-time student and paying his bills. One of Daniel’s classmates told him about the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) program, which is administered by Workforce Solutions Capital Area (Workforce Solutions). The WIA program pays for occupational training costs for income-qualifying adults and youth.

Daniel met with Brian Farrell, a case manager at Workforce Solutions, to determine his eligibility for the WIA program, but he found out that he made slightly too much money to qualify. Brian advised Daniel to focus more on school than work and to come back to Workforce Solutions several months later to reassess his eligibility for the WIA program. Undeterred by the temporary setback, Daniel reduced his hours at the rehabilitation facility and threw himself into his nursing program. Daniel later qualified for the WIA program, and the WIA program paid for his last year of nursing school!

“It’s a completely different story,” Daniel said of his path to a career in nursing. “I’m older and have more perspective. I was going to nursing school with a purpose, with an end goal in mind, not like at UT. I had a much different mindset and a much harder work ethic. I cut back my hours at the rehabilitation facility because I wanted to focus the majority of my time on school.”

Through the WIA program, Daniel participated in a basic computer literacy course and a job interview preparation course. The WIA grant paid for Daniel’s tuition as well as for supplies on the nursing program syllabus, such as textbooks, scrubs, stethoscopes and shoes. The grant also paid for weekly gas cards so that Daniel could travel to his classes and his clinical rotations at local hospitals.

During his last semester at ACC, Daniel participated in a class that prepared students for job placement. Daniel prepared his resume and honed his interview skills through this class, and he received several job offers at local hospitals. “I was lucky enough to observe an operating room during nursing school,” Daniel said. “I knew right away that surgery was what I wanted to do.” In January 2015, Daniel accepted a position as a circulating nurse at St. David’s South Austin Medical Center and works in the operating room (“O.R.”) during surgeries.

“It’s a very fast-paced job,” Daniel said. “The circulating nurses are like the offensive coordinators of the operating room. We oversee everything, and we conduct safety checks in the O.R. It comes down to us to make sure everything is correct and as safe as possible. Nursing school taught us to treat all equally and compassionately. Act as if this patient is a family member,” he said.

Daniel said the most important factor to his success was having a big support group; his family and a good study partner were key to his success. Daniel encourages others to use the WIA program to pursue their interests. “You get out of the training program what you put into it, that’s the bottom line. Programs like WIA reward you for your hard work,” Daniel said. “I felt good when I walked across the stage at UT, but I felt even better when I walked across the stage at ACC.”

About the WIA Program

The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) – now the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) – 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, WIOA 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.


Polishing Rusty Skills

5 Aug

All3OfUsChriss Rathbun, a self-proclaimed “geek” and experienced information technology professional, loves the IT industry and has successfully weathered its highs and lows. He lost his Project Management job in the early 2000s during the dot com bubble, and bounced back in 2004 with an IT management position, which he held for 10 years. However, Mr. Rathbun faced his biggest career hurdle in 2014, when his company centralized its IT division to Pennsylvania, forcing its employees to choose between moving or staying in Austin.


“I literally worked myself out of a job,” Mr. Rathbun said. He had developed a way for his company’s offices around the nation to streamline IT issues through the Pennsylvania-based division. Once that system was in place, his company made the decision to eliminate the IT department in Austin.


Mr. Rathbun was unwilling to leave Austin, a tech-friendly city that “appeals to my inner geek,” where he has put down firm roots. In addition to the home he bought more than a decade ago, he met and married his wife, Anastasia, in Austin, and their daughter, Ella, was born in their Austin home.


After searching for jobs without assistance from February through August 2014, Mr. Rathbun soon realized that, although he had a college degree and significant professional experience, employers wanted more. Throughout his career, Mr. Rathbun had become an experienced IT Project Manager, but he had never obtained professional Project Management or current IT certifications, such as ITIL. He needed to obtain the certifications to “cover what I’d been doing for the last 25 years,” he said.


Mr. Rathbun also experienced some significant health issues, which were exacerbated by the stress of losing his job. With medical bills and mortgage payments looming, Mr. Rathbun reached out to Workforce Solutions to help him get ahead of the curve.


Mr. Rathbun was eligible for Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Dislocated Worker Program training, and he worked with Kathryn Riley at Workforce Solutions to choose a training package that would make him more marketable. From August to December 2014, Mr. Rathbun obtained several Microsoft certifications, a Project Management Professional credential and ITIL service management training and certification through St. Edward’s University. “I completed those trainings while becoming healthy; I focused on that and recreating who I was,” Mr. Rathbun said.


While Mr. Rathbun had the full support of his “lovely ladies” – his wife and daughter – at home, his classmates also encouraged him to persevere through his medical and financial issues. “My instructors and I, as well as some of my classmates, still keep in touch,” Mr. Rathbun said. “If I were in a vacuum without family and the support of Workforce Solutions, I don’t know if I’d have had the determination to complete the classes and get the certifications. But my family needed me and supported me, and so did other people I’d met who’d been laid off. With their support, I kept on trucking and got it done.”


In addition to his training courses, Mr. Rathbun also attended interview and resume classes at WFS career centers and joined a networking job club, which he attended once a week. The courses helped refresh his job search skills, which were rusty since he had worked at his previous position for 10 years. “I learned so much at these classes about tricks to get my resume seen,” Mr. Rathbun said. “While working in IT management, I read thousands of resumes and interviewed hundreds of people. I wouldn’t have gone to these classes if I hadn’t been forced to go, but I was amazed by how much I learned.”


While enrolled in his training program, Mr. Rathbun and his family experienced financial hardship when his unemployment insurance ended. So, they got creative. “My family needed to do some spring cleaning anyway, so we held multiple garage sales and sold items on eBay, Amazon and other sites.”


Mr. Rathbun and his family also received a one-time mortgage assistance payment through the WIOA program while he was completing his studies. His hard work paid off, and he obtained employment as a Senior IT Project Manager shortly after his training programs ended! Mr. Rathbun plans to continue expanding his skill set by obtaining additional certifications.


Kathryn Riley with Workforce Solutions said she was impressed by how Mr. Rathbun remained dedicated to his training although he and his family endured challenges. “Chriss handled all the challenges and continued to excel in school. Chriss maintained a positive attitude and applied himself to training and his job search,” Ms. Riley said.


“Don’t be too proud to get help,” Mr. Rathbun advises other job seekers. “You’ve got a family and responsibilities, and you don’t have to do it on your own. My advice to someone in a similar situation is to immediately go down to Workforce Solutions and get into a job club. Don’t underestimate the programs, don’t underestimate the training, and don’t try to do it by yourself. Take advantage of the wonderful people and programs available there.”


About the WIOA Dislocated program

The Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act program is a no-cost employment program designed to give job seekers the support and/or skills training they need to find a job. For more information program specifics and eligibility requirements, please visit our site.

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.

Navigating the Sea of Unemployment

2 Feb

The Watters - PhotoIn 2014, Natalie and Jason “J.J.” Watters found themselves in the same boat: they were both unemployed at the same time. The couple was determined to keep their heads above water even though they faced significant challenges such as debt and taking care of their two young children, so they dove head first into the CHOICES Program at Workforce Solutions Capital Area.

According to their CHOICES case manager LaShaila Mitchum, the Watters went to the Workforce Solutions North Center at 7:45 a.m. every day for four weeks, where they participated in job readiness classes and searched for jobs. The Watters were “beacons of positivity,” said Ms. Mitchum, and they offered support and words of encouragement to other CHOICES participants.

Mrs. Watters said the family appreciated the classes that taught them how to interview for jobs, fill out job applications and write their resumes.

Mrs. Watters said the most challenging aspect of the couple’s job search was that many employers were slow to respond to online job applications. “There was no face-to-face contact. You have to be persistent. It’s as if you are one fish in a big sea,” she said. “You want the companies to see what you bring to the table, but without personally meeting recruiters, you’re just a piece of paper, just a resume.”

Mrs. Watters also said the on-site hiring events at Workforce Solutions’ career centers were invaluable. Mr. Watters received a notification through his WorkInTexas.com account about a UPS job fair, and he spoke face-to-face with a recruiter at the hiring event. That day, Mr. Watters filled out his application on a computer at the career center. He interviewed for a temporary truck loader position at UPS the next day, and he received a job offer on the spot. “The recruiter at the hiring event went through the whole hiring process,” Mrs. Watters said. “She left nothing uncertain.” Mr. Watters was a temporary worker until January 15, when he accepted a full-time truck loader position at UPS.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Watters, who has worked in the childcare industry for more than a decade, accepted a job offer as a curriculum coordinator and after-school and summer camp director at a children’s learning center. Her new schedule is conducive to her family; her daughter attends day care at the children’s learning center, and her son’s school is nearby.

“The Watters have truly set the standard for clients who are facing many obstacles and still manage to exceed program requirements,” said Ms. Mitchum. “Mr. Watters worked from 1 a.m. to 8 a.m. and would still come to the center and is constantly praised for his work ethic. Mrs. Watters is the epitome of a family’s backbone. I have seen her in so many instances encourage other CHOICES clients to keep up the fight in efforts to provide a good-quality of life for their families as well as provide them with community resources.”

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.

Skills without the Means

9 Sep

James Poissot - PhotoJames Poissot is no stranger to hard work and unfortunately harder times.  Following high school, he joined the U.S. Marine Corps.  After serving 9 years, including 4 tours in Afghanistan and 5 tours in Iraq, James exited the military and returned to the civilian workforce in the midst of the Great Recession.

Originally from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, James traveled around the U.S., unsure of where he could plant roots. SXSW might have brought James to Austin but the people he met kept him here.

“Never had anybody anywhere shown that much concern for me,” says James. “Every other place in the country treats their veterans poorly. They just offer words, no help.”

While he may have found the city he wanted to call home, James still had one significant hurdle to overcome.  Despite having acquired some very specific skills in the military, including working as an auto mechanic, James struggled to find gainful employment.  This lack of steady employment unfortunately led James to become homeless for several years.

Challenges and hurdles aside, James refused to give up hope, applying for jobs regularly.

“It felt like I’d put in 1,000 jobs a day,” says James.

One day, James met a service manager with a local transmission shop.  He explained that despite his current homeless status, he had prior experience working on manual and automatic transmissions in the military.  By owning his valuable skills and taking the risk to outreach, James found an employer willing to work with him.  The only thing he had left to do was to get the tools. That need and a recommendation led James to Workforce Solutions.

As a part of the WIA program with Workforce Solutions, James was able to acquire the necessary tools to perform the job duties as a transmission mechanic.  He also worked with representatives from the Texas Veterans Commission stationed within the local Workforce Solutions Career Center.

James says, “People really are appreciative of our defense of their freedom. If [a veteran] wants better, they can find better with Workforce.”

James is now fully employed and saving up to put a deposit down on an apartment. With a little help, this veteran finally has his life back on track.


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.


Overwhelmed But Hopeful

27 Feb

Harry Johnson - PhotoWhat do you do when it truly feels the odds are stacked against you? If you are like Harry Johnson III, you’ll find a way to level the playing field.

After stepping up to help his family deal with financial woes, health concerns and the passing of his father, Harry was hit with a tough reality. He had been so focused on fixing ‘things” that he hadn’t been able to focus on putting the pieces back together for himself. His primary goal was to find employment.

“I found I had little to no resources of my own left,” says Harry. “Consequently, I had to go on food stamps, but in the end the end I’m glad I did, because it helped me in achieving my main goal of being employed once again.”

After enrolling in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Harry joined the SNAP Employment and Training program with Workforce Solutions Capital Area. As a part of SNAP E&T, he was able to take advantage of workshops, intensive job search assistance and other support services.

“The first time I came into a center, I was overwhelmed but hopeful,” says Harry. “But the services offered [at Workforce Solutions] are absolutely top-notch. I say with all sincerity that I have never met another group of people who were as helpful with my case as your staff.”

Harry continues, “My program director, Amy Howard, did a superlative job of ensuring that I had the necessary resources at hand to accomplish my goal of reemployment. Her work definitely made my effort much more efficient.”

“Harry did a phenomenal job of utilizing all of the resources available to him,” says Amy Howard. “Up until his employment, Harry was at the Workforce Center nearly every day perfecting his resume, improving his job search strategies and developing his interview skills.”

Within three months of participation in the SNAP E&T program, Harry found full-time employment and is well on his way of redefining success.

“I know Harry will go far in his career,” says Amy. “In his first two months on the job he far exceeded his established sales goal making him a highly valued asset to his company. In addition, Harry has great interpersonal skills. He is a friendly person with a bright future.”

Harry’s advice for people in similar situations: “Don’t be intimidated. Get your resume out there. Applying got me my interview.”

About the SNAP E&T Program

SNAP E&T is a no-cost employment program designed to give SNAP (food stamp) recipients the assistance and support they need to find a job. Based on available funding, SNAP E&T can provide:

  • Job search assistance including job referrals
  • Support services such as transportation assistance, crisis and work-related expenses
  • Job skills assessment
  • Career counseling and planning
  • Training in basic and occupational skills
  • Work experience
  • Referrals to other community services

The SNAP E&T program is only available to SNAP (food stamp) recipients. Eligibility for SNAP is determined by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC).  For more information about the SNAP (food stamp) program including eligibility requirements and how you can apply, please visit http://www.hhsc.state.tx.us/help/Food/snap.shtml.

If you are a current SNAP (food stamp) recipient and want to learn more about SNAP E&T, please visit www.wfscapitalarea.com.

Finding a Job Can Be a Full-Time Job

13 Dec

Iris KremerIris Kremer started working at age 13.  When she became unemployed 30 years later, she thought it was no big deal. In the past finding a new job had not been a big deal. Unfortunately, times had changed and Iris found she was unable to find employment.

“At first, it was no big deal (so I thought) because finding a job is no big deal,” says Iris. “I was wrong, very wrong. After not being able to regain employment as quickly as I had believed something inside of me changed. I started to realize how much of my self-worth was connected to my job. When I got to the point where I had to apply for public assistance because I could no longer afford to feed myself, I felt I had reached rock bottom. Little did I know that it was the beginning of an upward journey!”

Iris began to see things turn around after joining the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Employment and Training program with Workforce Solutions Capital Area.  Once she starting attending job readiness workshops and working with her Career Counselor Raquel Carbary, Iris began to understand that job search methods and techniques have changed – and that she was not alone in this search.

Within a few weeks, Iris began to get calls for interviews. She began to feel more knowledgeable and empowered. She says this experience has taught her humility, patience, and self-acceptance.

“When Iris first came in to the SNAP program, she almost looked lost, and without hope,” says Raquel Carbary. ” But once Iris started taking control of her job search and the options available to her, she picked herself up, applied to more jobs, interviewed, and got hired!”

Iris has inspired her Career Counselor and the Workforce Solutions team in the resource room. Her bright disposition always brightened the day, regardless of her circumstances.

Raquel continues, “Iris is a great example of how someone who feels like they have lost it all and don’t know what else to do, who then followed the steps that were put in front of her. She is extremely happy at her job and so happy to be back on track in life!”

Iris has returned to the medical field, working for ‘Specially for Children in a customer service senior position.

“I am very excited about this position because it will give me many opportunities to excel and grow,” says Iris. “We are an outpatient clinical service where children follow up with specialty physicians such as rheumatology, endocrine and so on. The clinic is expanding and growing and I am looking forward to being a part of that.”

About the SNAP E&T Program

SNAP E&T is a no-cost employment program designed to give SNAP (food stamp) recipients the assistance and support they need to find a job. Based on available funding, SNAP E&T can provide:

  • Job search assistance including job referrals
  • Support services such as transportation assistance, crisis and work-related expenses
  • Job skills assessment
  • Career counseling and planning
  • Training in basic and occupational skills
  • Work experience
  • Referrals to other community services

The SNAP E&T program is only available to SNAP (food stamp) recipients. Eligibility for SNAP is determined by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC).  For more information about the SNAP (food stamp) program including eligibility requirements and how you can apply, please visit http://www.hhsc.state.tx.us/help/Food/snap.shtml.

If you are a current SNAP (food stamp) recipient and want to learn more about SNAP E&T, please visit www.wfscapitalarea.com.

Investing in Employees

30 Oct

Liquidation Channel LogoLiquidation Channel, the home of Exceptional Quality, Exquisite Designs, and Outstanding Value, is a 24/7 home shopping and ecommerce business. With a reach to more than 80 million households, Liquidation Channel is one of the fastest growing jewelry and lifestyle businesses in the U.S. Their passion for jewelry, gemstones, and lifestyle products is matched by their intense passion for value. They mine and handcraft many of the products sold on their website and TV networks and remain dedicated to offering the trendiest styles while consistently bringing the best quality and value.

At the LC, each and every customer is treated like a member of the family. This family atmosphere is not only apparent internally but externally as well through their work in their local community. In the Austin/Travis County area, Liquidation Channel has been an excellent supporter of our local workforce system. In 2013 alone, they have worked with the Workforce Solutions Capital Area Business Solutions Teams to conduct multiple hiring fairs, which have resulted in the 37 hires.  They are a “second chance” employer and have hired many individuals with barriers to employment. In addition, Liquidation Channel is enrolled in the Subsidized Employment program.

“As we grow, we are dedicated to making an investment in our local community by staying committed to growth and prosperity for the people in our community,” says Angela Shaw, Human Resources Manager for Liquidation Channel.

“It has been a sincere pleasure to work with Liquidation Channel,” says Tom Owens, Workforce Solutions Capital Area Business Solutions Representative. “In 2013, they have conducted 10 Hiring Events with nearly 40 hires and are planning an event for each month in 2014.”

“Liquidation Channel has enrolled in a variety of Workforce Solutions programs to find the right employees and will be attending the Red, White & You Veterans Job Fair this November.”

Liquidation Channel is a shining example of an employer who is as dedicated to developing quality employees as they are in delivering quality products and customer service.


About Business Solutions

The Workforce Solutions Capital Area Business Solutions Team offers a wide array of services to help local employers find, hire, train, and retain skilled workers.

For more information, please visit www.wfscapitalarea.com

Building a Career, Not Just Having a Job

16 Sep

Until very recently, most of Pamela Overall’s employment had consisted of working hard only to see contracts inevitably end. She struggled to find consistent employment with the personal and professional benefits that allows. Pamela had had jobs, but not a career.

“I spent many years going in and out of jobs,” says Pamela. “I worked through multiple temp agencies, three months here, six months there. I probably would have continued to struggle with it until I was too old to work anymore.”

In 2007, Pamela finally was able to transition from a temporary to a permanent employee. Truly the exception, not the rule. Unfortunately, after only two and a half years of full-time employment, Pamela found out she would soon again be unemployed. Through no fault of her own, Pamela’s job was being relocated to Salt Lake City, Utah when the company she worked for lost the lease on their building. Pamela knew how to job search but her current situation qualified her for job training assistance.

“I knew my desirability as an older worker was diminishing,” says Pamela. “The first suggestions people made was to train to be a nurse but I didn’t feel like that was a job I was cut out for. It’s a lot easier to replace a hard drive than a heart.”

“I made my choice for technology because it is a growing field. You can take several different directions with it. Plus it was one job I didn’t have to worry about going overseas. If I knew how to repair computers, I’d always have a job. Computers are everywhere.”

Through the Trade Adjustment (TAA) program, Pamela was able to train for and complete a number of Information Technology (IT) certifications and find employment in the field. However, TAA did more than just help Pamela begin her career. It also helped Pamela’s family.

“The TAA program is not only for the individual,” says Pamela. “It can help an entire family. I was able to teach my daughter what I’d learned and it helped her find a job.”

“I wanted my daughter to have a solid base, something to fall back on and to learn the things I was never taught. The importance of finding and keeping a good job, paying bills on time, maintaining a checking account, etc.”

“My TAA rep Frank Perry was wonderful. Without this program and Frank, I don’t know what I would’ve done. Frank was always in my corner supporting, encouraging, and fighting for me every step of the way. He’s an excellent representative of the program and what counselors should be.”

About Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA)

The Trade Adjustment Assistance Act helps workers who lost their jobs due to foreign imports or competition. To receive TAA benefits, an individual must have lost a job covered by a trade certification issued by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). Workforce Solutions office staff can discuss the following benefits TAA recipients:

  • Job Search Assistance
  • Job Search Allowance
  • Relocation Allowance
  • Training (Vocational and Remedial)
  • Trade Readjustment Allowances (TRA)
  • Reemployment Trade Adjustment Assistance (RTAA)
  • Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC)