Sierra heard about the Livingston Workforce Services from a friend. She was pursuing the Radiography field and looking for scholarship opportunities since she only worked part time on the weekends as a waitress. She had just been accepted into the program at the local college, but she was also interested in getting her foot in the door with some internship opportunities in the radiography field. Sierra was then placed in a “work experience” in the radiology department at OSF. She worked there six months and used her experience to help her progress through the program. She graduated with her Radiography degree and soon passed her certification exam. She now works in the radiology department at the hospital closest to her home.
John was a high school student when he was referred to the Livingston Workforce Services. He was looking to obtain a job working at his high school’s cafeteria, so that he could gain some valuable life skills. The remarks from his supervisor on his evaluation regarding his progress on the program was substantial; mostly exceeds expectations. After the completion of his work experience, his school hired him on as a cafeteria assistant where he continues to work while attending high school. He is expected to graduate in 2022 after turning 21 years of age and hopes to continue his employment beyond.
Ryan, a former client of the Livingston Workforce Services, returned looking for additional help to obtain his BSN. He had completed his CNA a few years earlier and decided that the nursing field was where he wanted to be. Since he was working very little, he knew that he would have trouble affording his tuition payments and valued what the program had already done for him. In two short years, he earned his BSN and is now working at the St. Francis Medical Center making over 10 times that of his pre-employment wages.
As a single mom working as a CNA, Katie knew she wanted to better herself by pursuing the RN career. She had lots of experience working in a nursing home, so she knew she could do it. Once she was accepted into a nursing program, she contacted the Livingston Workforce Services to see how they could help with funding. She worked 2 “as needed” part time jobs and was looking to supplement her tuition bill. She progressed easily through the first year of the program and obtained her LPN. She continued on further, receiving her RN, and eventually her BSN, while increasing her workload and becoming employed, eventually full time by a local hospital.
Samantha had been accepted into the nursing program, but was worried about how she was going to pay for her classes. She worked part time at a grocery store, but did not make the livable wage that becoming a nurse could offer her. She diligently achieved every career goal she set for herself, starting with her RN. She then quickly earned her BSN while working full time as a RN at a hospital. She is now self-sufficient.
Mackenzie contacted the Livingston Workforce Services after being referred to the program by a friend. She was just entering a rigorous nursing program and as a result was only working part time. She was in need of a scholarship as well as transportation assistance in order to help her accomplish her goal of obtaining her RN. Mackenzie excelled in her program and graduated on time, earning her RN. She initially began working as an LPN at a local nursing home but eventually moved on to an RN position at a hospital, making over double what she did when she entered the program. She is now pursuing her BSN.
Erika Scott is a 23 year old single mother who grew up in the Austin area. Erika was referred to Business and Career Services, Inc. by her mother Lucy, who has been involved with other organizations like the Young Manufacturing Association and strongly supports involvement in the manufacturing industry. Erika had completed several internships while in high school and started working shortly after graduating. However, those jobs did not seem to be taking her anywhere and she felt as though there was no advancement. After Erika had her son, her responsibilities increased as she had to provide for her baby and herself. This made her realize she not only needed a job, but a career.
When Erika was referred to the MCIP program she immediately said, “I need to get a stable job, so I’m in”. We explained the different career pathways in manufacturing and the leadership development component, which makes this program unique. Even when several people tried to make her second guess pursuing the Welding track, because it was “Dirty Work”, Erika asked all the necessary questions and kept saying” Why not?”.
Erika was facing many obstacles, which kept getting in the way to a successful job. She did not have reliable transportation, lack of stable childcare, poor reading and math skills, and lives in a high poverty area, which has limited resources. She also lacked interviewing and work readiness skills which prevented her from going past the initial interview screening.
When Erika started boot camp, she was extremely shy and did not want to participate in group discussions or leaded reading. As the days went by, she began to feel more comfortable and understood that everyone in the room had much in common, and it was ok to ask questions and make mistakes. After all, everyone in the boot camp is facing some type of barrier and one of the purposes is to polish and deliver interpersonal skills, which are essential in any workplace. During the 4 weeks, Erika went through the “A Game” curriculum, which promotes the importance of attendance, attitude, appearance, ambition, acceptance, appreciation and accountability. Erika was always encouraged to ask questions during the employer “lunch and learn”. We asked everybody to look at it as if they were interviewing the employers. Erika was able to manage her fear of public speaking and when she toured different local manufacturers, she always asked questions, which helped her stand out with the employers.
Towards the end of Boot Camp, Erika made her final decision about the career pathway she wanted to pursue, which was the Welding Track. Erika learned how to perform labor market research during boot camp. With this, she not only identified the career path, but was able to choose a specific job she wanted to pursue in the next 5 years and the company where she wanted to work. Everyone was able to see Erika’s ambition by the end of the boot camp; hence she was chosen to complete a paid work experience at the employer that she had picked.
Erika was placed at The Metraflex Company and was working 3 days a week while attending Welding Classes at Daley College. The employer had great feedback during her evaluations and we even heard back from the company’s president saying she was a “promising intern”. Erika kept learning and improving during her internship, that by the end of it she was offered a full-time position. Erika then started an “On the Job” training program at Metraflex. She was also given time to complete the Welding Classes, as they have planned to give her the opportunity to weld in the near future.
Erika is now looking into additional training options to acquire specific Welding Certificates, which she can use at her current worksite.
People who know Damika Jones would describe her as a go-getter. Someone with potential. Someone with ambition and drive to take what she was given in life and make something better for herself.
Damika has always been ambitious in her career goals but was unsure of how she could achieve what she wanted. She’d worked a series of small jobs, but never really found something that would lead to a career. She was working a few hours a week at UPS when she first saw a flier for the Manufacturing Careers Internship Program and became interested in MCIP. She quickly realized that there were much better opportunities for her with this program than she’d get with her part-time job at UPS, so she quit and dedicated the next four weeks of her life to attending boot camp and elevating her resume, interview, and job readiness skills. She convinced a friend to attend the boot camp with her, but he quickly dropped out. She didn’t let this deter her—she became more steadfast and committed to the program. She would wake up early each day to take one bus to another bus, just to get from her house to the church where the boot camp was held. She worked hard, always asking questions on employer site visits and putting her best foot forward.
At the end of boot camp, Damika was ready to work. She was assigned to an internship at Mifab where she had to take a late start, due to a family emergency. She came back a week later, ready to go for her six-week internship. At Mifab, she arrived to work on time every day as she learned Pick and Pack, assembly, and even got the chance to do some shipping and receiving. She received the highest praise from her site supervisor, who praised her ability to learn quickly and her desire to be trained in different areas. She wanted to absorb as much as possible during her internship, not staying just in the warehouse, but she also wanted to learn the computer system and maybe even some desk work.
At the end of her six-week internship, Mifab did not want to let her go, but they had to. They were not currently hiring, but they stated that they would take her in a heartbeat as soon as something opened up. Damika did not let this bother her—she took the remaining time of her internship and made the most of it. She asked her site supervisor to review and critique her resume, and even asked him to conduct an exit interview with her. She asked him about what kinds of things he looks for when he’s hiring and what mistakes candidates often make during the application and interview process.
When the last days of her internship were closing in, Mifab caved. They offered her a position as a Shipping Clerk. Damika was so excited that all of her hard work had paid off.
At the same time, Damika was taking those skills that she learned—skills from the boot camp and skills she acquired at her internship—to do more. She applied for a full-time job at United Airlines as a Customer Service Representative and they hired her. Although she did not take the position that her internship site had eventually offered, she used the knowledge and skills she gained through the Manufacturing Careers Internship Program, as well as her “go-getter” attitude, to achieve what she wanted.