Khadijah had not worked in over 10 years, had been living in a shelter, and was dealing with symptoms of depression, deepened by the loss of her father. Working closely
with the trainers at America Works, Khadijah was exposed to many industries. Finally settling on security guard training, she completed the course and was Immediately hired
by a partner of America Works. Khadijah came into the office with happy tears in her eyes once she realized that she would finally be back working after a long absence away
from the workforce. “It was all thanks to you guys, you gave me hope…and for that I’m extremely grateful!”
Valerie was receiving disability from Social Security and wanted desperately to improve her situation. When Valerie started with America Works, she was nearly homeless and
had very little relationship with her daughter. It took some adjusting, but after starting her second job she was on her path to stability and independence. She has now
been working for over six years. During that time, America Works helped her find a stable apartment and Valerie has been able to rebuild her relationship with her daughter.
Valerie credits America Works with turning her life around and continues to share her accomplishments.
Never Too Late: A Veteran’s Story
After many years of being homeless, unemployed and battling addiction, Johnnie proved that it’s never too late to start over and was honored by President Barack Obama
at the White House.
Johnnie served his country in the Army overseas. Ten years after his return, substance abuse took over his life. He lost his job, and lived on the streets without work
for more than 19-years until he connected with Chicago’s Veterans Affairs. The VA referred him to America Works, where the staff gave him a much needed support system.
They helped him prepare a resume, coached him on using a computer, email and the Internet.
The team recognized his potential and knew he was ready to step into the workforce again. They encouraged him to test for a position at the United States Postal Service
(where he had once worked). He passed the exam and accepted a position with the USPS. Johnnie now lives in his own apartment and is proudly employeed. More than one
year later, he continues to check in at America Works, where he receives encouragement and well-deserved praise for accomplishments.
Akeem was laid off from a Digital Marketing Coordinator position and began searching for something that would fulfill him and be relevant to his qualifications. However,
after some difficult circumstances with family issues at home, he realized he needed additional help. Akeem was referred to America Works where his representative used all
their available resources to assist him. Akeem later stated, “The training here was on a different level. The people here…genuinely want to help.” Akeem was referred to an
interview by America Works and he accepted the position as a Web Designer for $50,000 per year plus benefits.
No Barriers, Only Opportunity
Lamont was unable to read and write when he came to America Works. He also didn’t have any prior work experience. However, the team did not see any of these
circumstances as barriers. Instead, they focused on his potential and strengths – his work ethic, willingness to learn and dedication to improving himself.
With the help of the staff filling out applications, Lamont applied for local jobs. On occasion, he would get lost on his way to job interviews because he was unable to
read street signs. Our team would immediately find him and drop him off at the right location. They coached him on attire and interview skills so that he felt confident
and prepared. And it worked. Lamont works for a national restaurant chain. The job was a first step in his self-improvement journey and knows that our team will be
there to help him along the way.
A Fresh Start
Owen was newly out of prison after serving more than 24-years when he first came to America Works.
He had never used a computer, the Internet or a mobile phone. However, he had his life back and was eager to catch up on everything he had missed. Our team coached him
through the basics of operating a computer, setting up email, applying for jobs, inquiring about certifications and various courses.
While he lacked work experience and a resume, Owen came in each day with drive and determination to become self-sufficient. He worked diligently so that he could
provide for himself and his family. He endured a long commute on public transportation just so that he could work with our team to prepare for interviews, attend
various classes and work on improving himself.
His hard work paid off. He landed a job after his first interview. Not long after, he obtained his permit and now has his driver’s license. Owen is well on his way to
being self-sufficient and has never looked back.