PROGRAM: Career Link
EMPLOYER: Stubbs Engineering, Inc.
CASE MANAGER: Kristina Correa
As a little girl I always had big dreams, I wanted something great for my life and I wanted to accomplish so much. I wanted to graduate high school, graduate from college and have a career doing something I love. I always knew accomplishing my goals was not going to be easy, but when I had a baby at 16 my goals seemed nearly impossible. But now I had a bigger reason than just myself to accomplish everything I dreamed of. So I graduated high school and was determined to do whatever it takes to be able to go to college full time, work, and still be there for my daughter during the evenings and on weekends. You see, not only was it my goal to go to school and provide a comfortable life for my child, I also wanted to be present in her life.
Not only that, but after working at a restaurant for two years I was determined to find a job that meant something to me, I didn’t just want to buss tables and show people to where they would dine for the night. I wanted a job that had a purpose, I wanted to use my brain; I didn’t want my skills to be tucked away behind an apron anymore. So I moved across the state a month before I was supposed to begin attending college, and started searching for a job. After a couple weeks of searching I had found nothing, and I began to panic. I knew if I couldn’t find something soon I was going to have to put my dreams on hold for a while and work somewhere at minimum wage with nothing to work towards again. I am not one to give up, but I was so close, because I had bills, and tuition, and textbooks, and groceries to pay for and my savings were slowly disintegrating. At this point my mom had told me about food stamps and Cash Assistance programs, and so I went into the income support office and applied for the assistance. While I was there I was told about the Career Link Program.
I was skeptical at first; I thought there had to be some kind of catch. A paid internship at a place that is chosen based on my major just seemed too good to be true. So I asked to speak to someone about the program before I accepted TANF, and that's how I met my amazing caseworker Kristina Correa. She told me all about the TANF Education Works and the Career Link Program and reassured me, that she would find me a place that fit me best if I wanted to do Career Link. She told me she would place me at a place with good pay, flexible hours, and somewhere that understood the importance of school and being there for my daughter. With her reassurance I signed up for the program and got put on her caseload. Within a week she found me the perfect internship at Stubbs Engineering, Inc. I was skeptical of accepting the internship at first because I thought it had nothing to do with my major, but after she explained to me, all that I would be doing, and how amazing the job would be, I accepted an interview and was accepted as an intern on the spot.
I met with her many times after accepting the job and she reassured me the skills I would learn at this job were very useful to me once I obtain my degree and that it was a great place to develop skills in a prestigious engineering firm that would open doors for me in the future, and to be honest she couldn’t have been more Right! This company brought so much joy into my life! I felt like I hit the jackpot! They work with my schedule, they let me bring my daughter to work if I need to and they are extremely family oriented, so anytime I have a family emergency or my daughter is sick, they always understand. I am now a part of something bigger than I ever imagined. And the cherry on top of it all is that I was able to get hired after three short months of interning. I never would have been here without the opportunity Career Link and Kristina Correa provided me with, I never could have gotten through the things I went through these past three months without the relationship my case worker built with me, but most importantly I had to work hard and not let the roadblocks get in my way.
I am so grateful to Career Link for helping me get the amazing job I now have, without them I would have never been given such an amazing opportunity at such a young age (19), with a 2 Year old child, and completely new to this area. Even though everyone thought my dreams were impossible (especially being a teen mom) here I am accomplishing them, and I will continue to accomplish my dreams!