Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act (WIOA)
Deborah K. worked as a Payroll Specialist for almost ten years. That employment ended in August 2015, when the company was restructured. After an unsuccessful self-directed job search, she sought assistance at PA CareerLink® Lehigh Valley.
By the time Deborah enrolled in individualized career services in July 2016, she was financially supporting herself through CD and retirement account withdrawals. Her Career Advisor and Recruiter quickly joined forces to revise her resume and cover letter and provide job leads. She was also referred to several local staffing agencies.
As a mature worker, Deborah recognized that her office skills were no longer sufficient for many of today’s fast-paced offices. Staff guided her to research training opportunities to improve her marketability. After obtaining the required WorkKeys® scores, she requested and was granted funding to attend Lehigh Carbon Community College’s TAACCCT/PATH Healthcare Administrative Assistant program.
Deborah’s classes began in September 2016. Due to the unavailability of free parking, her transportation expenses (parking fees) were reimbursed as a supportive service. In December 2016, she successfully completed her training and was awarded a certificate.
One month later, Deborah secured full-time employment as a Telerecruiter with Miller Keystone Blood Center. She is very satisfied with her new healthcare career. Deborah is also thrilled to once again be contributing to her retirement account instead of withdrawing from it!
CareerFORCE (WIOA Youth Program)
Ludgie was found eligible for CareerFORCE in August 2016 as a parenting youth. Ludgie came in as a very timid young lady who had never had a job. She lacked confidence in herself and it showed. However, she was determined to achieve her goal of obtaining and maintaining a job in personal care.
Ludgie attended numerous workshops during her time at Career Force, including Professionalism, Build a Business, Personality & Career Assessment and Resume Development. She also achieved an EFL gain in Reading. Eventually, Ludgie was called in for an interview at Country Meadows in Allentown. She was accepted for a PCA position. Only a few weeks after starting her position, Ludgie obtained her Adult Residential Licensing from Country Meadows.
During her time here at Career Force, Ludgie not only achieved work readiness skills and employment, but she also became a confident, more content individual. When she spoke, she held her head up high. She was proud of herself and also learned to believe in herself and in her future.
Employment, Advancement and Retention Network (EARN)
Melissa came into the EARN program with an open mind and plenty of hesitation. She was new to this type of program but was ready to get a job. Melissa was willing to work hard in order to make herself the best candidate possible. She came into the program with a strong background in banking and finance. Knowing she had a family to care for, Melissa buckled down and began to prepare for the job she needed.
Melissa truly began to shine in the Employability Skills classroom. She arrived on time and worked hard during the day. She completed her toolkit quickly and dove into job searching. Melissa knew this was going to be the best way to find the perfect job for her. Her mind was wide open and she readily accepted job leads from all the recruiters in the Directed Job Search Room. Melissa continued to work hard and apply often to various positions, knowing one would be the perfect fit.
After only two weeks in the EARN program, Melissa began to hear back from numerous employers. She quickly realized that her best choice for employment was in the banking field she knew and loved. Melissa took a position at Garda in Reading, PA. She was thrilled knowing she would have a consistent schedule with a steady paycheck. Melissa was the perfect example on how a determined job search and a little bit of patience can help land you a job.
Business Engagement Services Team (BEST)
Ideal Concepts, based in Allentown, PA, has been providing a variety of technological insurance solutions since 2004. The company founder used his expertise to revolutionize one of the least technologically advanced industries in the world, the insurance industry. Their first product was iWebQuotes.com, an insurance marketing website, which connected clients looking for health and life insurance with experienced and knowledgeable agents. At the time, that market was underdeveloped, which allowed for quick growth of the product. Since then, this company has expanded their high-tech insurance sales, making it easier to sell over the phone and internet, while determining ways for consumers to spend less on health premiums and maintaining thorough coverage to protect themselves and their families. This company’s success has led them to become one of the fastest growing and largest producing marketing companies in the industry.
With this growth, Ideal Concepts continues to demonstrate a need for additional new hires. They have partnered with PA CareerLink® Lehigh Valley in posting jobs on JobGateway® and providing valuable on-the-job training (OJT) to eligible individuals, receiving a wage reimbursement to help defer the costs of new hires. Since partnering with CareerLink in 2015, this employer has participated in 25 OJTs, resulting in a 72% retention rate. Positions ranged from Customer Service Representatives (CSR), Licensing Specialists, Customer Service Manager, and a Computer Systems Analyst. They provide entry level opportunities, with a starting wage of $13 per hour, with career pathways to more advanced positions. As a way to foster career development, the company provides one-on-one career counseling for individuals seeking higher level positions. For many of our EARN participants, this is an invaluable opportunity to enter or re-enter the workforce and get upskilled. One of our EARN clients started as a CSR and was quickly promoted to a Licensing Specialist earning over $15 per hour. Another EARN participant was also hired as a CSR and provided with on-the-job training.
This employer has demonstrated a willingness to hire individuals who may only have entry-level skills and provide a career pathway to more advanced positions. The wage reimbursement has allowed the company to save on training costs, and they partially credit that saving with their decision to acquire an additional 35,000 square foot facility. This larger facility will allow them to continue to hire locally, with an anticipated 150 new Lehigh Valley jobs added over the next two years. In addition, Ideal Concepts has been chosen as one of the small employers Top Ten Best Places to Work in the Lehigh Valley. With continued growth and success, there is no doubt that they will continue to expand their workforce. With a continued partnership with PA CareerLink® Lehigh Valley, there will be more opportunities for EARN clients to get hired, get trained, and follow a pathway to expanded opportunities and success within this organization.
Allentown Employment and Training Center (AETC) - PA CareerLink Lehigh Valley satellite office
Michael was referred to the AETC from the Halfway House of Lehigh Valley. As is required of Halfway House Residents, he completed a full registration, including an assessment and JobGateway® account. He also took advantage of other services; staff reviewed his resume, he used the computers and internet access, and eased himself back into the “working world.”
Though it only took a little more than a month to find something, he struggled with finding a position that would provide him with a second chance due to his background, but would also work around his recovery schedule at the halfway house. He applied to multiple positions, in multiple fields, tapping into his diverse professional background in customer service, food service, warehouse, and professional driving.
Just as he was beginning to grow impatient, Michael received an offer from the Performance Group as a Warehouse Laborer earning $12.00 an hour. He would even receive benefits after 90 days. Michael cited feeling “very relieved,” upon receiving the offer.
Bethlehem Employment and Training Center (AETC) - PA CareerLink Lehigh Valley satellite office
Robert, a United States Navy Veteran, was a referral from Veteran Employment Representative 1 at the Lehigh Valley CareerLink® office. Robert had recently received the opportunity to move into his own apartment in South Bethlehem via Hope for Veterans. Since Robert relies on public transportation, our Bethlehem location is closest to him.
Robert’s work history consists of ten years in transportation logistics and manufacturing. He expressed interest in updating his CDL credentials, however due to his financial situation he is unable to pursue them at this time. Robert remained positive and enthusiastic about obtaining employment outside of his preferred field, with the hopes of gaining financial stability and therefore updating his CDL credentials in the near future.
After completing several applications, Robert interviewed with Sands Casino and Simos. A very excited Robert returned a few days later to inform us that, though both interviews went very well, Simos was the first to offer him a position. He is now working for Simos at the Walmart.com facility as a seasonal material handler for 36 hours a week, earning $15.00 an hour. There is also a possibility of becoming a permanent employee.
Robert expressed his gratitude for the assistance he received from staff and will continue to refer people to the BETC. He was also very excited to share a detailed bus route, including landmarks, for both Simos’ and Walmart’s locations, for us to share with future participants who also rely on public transportation.