Diamond came to Eckerd shortly after graduating from high school. With little work experience and unsure of what she wanted to do, Diamond was looking for general direction and help with finding a job she would enjoy. After some career exploration activities and a lot of brainstorming, Diamond determined that she might enjoy working as a cake decorator. We then worked with her on building up her resume, interviewing to get the job, and obtaining a NRF Customer Service Certificate. Since she had never worked professionally as a cake decorator before, her career coach contacted local businesses about hiring Diamond through a paid work experience. The right fit was found with Smart & Final in San Luis Obispo. Their management was excited to bring on a young professional to train in their bakery. Only a few weeks after beginning her paid work experience, Diamond was hired outright where she will be working full time in the bakery. Despite the early shifts, Diamond says she is enjoying her new job and sees a strong future working there.
I would like to introduce you to the TALENTED, CONFIDENT, INTELLEGENT and SUPER AMBITIOUS Marcus.
The day Marcus walked into our Arroyo Grande office, he was sad, and a little depressed. He told me that he was ready for change in his life but he wasn’t really sure how to do it. I asked him how he heard about the program and what he knew about us? He replied “I don’t know much about you, but I know that you help young people, and I sure hope that you can help me.” As I began to explain the details of the program, Marcus sat listening attentively. Then I noticed that he sort of sank down in his chair, and he suddenly had this look on his face as if I just told him something awful. I asked him what was wrong? He said “Wow, this all sounds so wonderful but, I can’t afford anything like this right now! And I…” I smiled and gently interrupted. I let him know that the program was FREE and as a matter of fact, “We will even give you an incentive for finishing the program, supportive services etc.” He couldn’t believe it! He said “Are you serious?, I don’t have to pay back anything?” I explained WIOA and why we were able to provide such a wonderful service at no charge. His entire attitude changed and he was ready to sign up. Marcus read every single document twice and out loud. As he finished, smiling at me, he said “You’re probably wonder why I did that, I just wanted to make sure that you wouldn’t charge me for this later.” We both laughed. And he still reads every single document that you give him… twice!
When a participant is enrolled in our program, we provide resources that are specific to the participants chosen interest or career path. Marcus was genuinely interested in everything we had to offer. He inquired about all of the certifications in detail. I thought that maybe we would have to work on narrowing down his choices with a more extensive career exploration. I mentioned the thought to Marcus, and he replied “Oh NO! Ms. Shannon. I’m not asking for myself! I know exactly what I want to do! I’m asking so I can tell other young people in my similar situation.” And that is exactly what he did. Thanks to Marcus, Eckerd has become fairly well known in the community. AWESOME!
Marcus recently shared that this program has saved his life. “Eckerd has helped me regain the focus and confidence that I was lacking in my life. I now have direction, ambition and pride in myself again. And it feels really GOOD!” Marcus is employed at Converse (his favorite shoe brand) and has plans to return to college next year. I have no doubt in his success! We are so PROUD of YOU!
Madeline had never had a job before and is a young mother of two. She wanted a better life for her family so she signed up for Eckerd Workforce Development. She earned a CA food handler card, Customer Service credential from the National Retail Federation, wrote a resume and cover letter, got her driver’s license, an interview outfit, and completed a volunteer project. She is now working full time at Grocery Outlet and has her eye on management.
Javier came to Eckerd Workforce Development unsure of what to do with his life; In this program, he explored a variety of career pathways. He completed First Aid & CPR training, Customer Service through the NRF, and CA Guard Card. He wrote a resume/cover letter, practiced interview skills and did a work experience with the Warming Station as an overnight chaperone for the homeless. He is still pursuing his dream of giving back to the community by starting a non-profit soccer program for at risk children. He is working two jobs and actively studying for his GED.
Rhylee had never stayed at one job for very long and came from a bad family background. She is a young single mom with a passion for life. She wasn’t sure what she wanted to do but after career exploration and earning credentials for Customer Service CA Food Handlers and Financial Literacy her confidence boosted and she is well on her way to a successful future. She is in the process of completing her GED and will be going to Cuesta in the fall to pursue her dream of early childhood development. She is currently working full time for a day care.
Reese came into our program needing work. He had dropped out of school and was searching without success. After sitting down and discussing Reese’s wants and needs, we came up with a plan. First he needed clothes for interviews, second he needed to get his driver’s license so he can work not just on the bus line. Third he wanted to go back to school and get his diploma, he was only 14 credits shy. We took him shopping to get what he needed there. We helped him get his permit then enrolled him in Drivers Training. We researched Reese’s options and helped him get enrolled in adult school. Reese is now working full time, going to school 2 nights a week and will have his diploma within the month. He passed his driving test and has purchased a nice used car. This was quite a transformation within less than a six-month period.
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