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Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act (WIOA)

Susan W. was first registered in the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) program as a Dislocated Worker back in 2014. She had worked as an Executive Assistant at Paragon Technologies for almost 20 years. When Susan arrived for her first appointment, she was devastated and concerned that her age was going to be a hindrance to her job search.   However, she was hired four months later as a Clerk Typist II at the UC Service Center in Allentown. As a matter of fact, she originally applied for a Clerk Typist I position.  After attending the job interview, and based upon her previous work experience, it was suggested that she apply for the Clerk Typist II position since it offered a better salary. It was a great fit!

After three years, Susan returned to the PA CareerLink® Lehigh Valley office in January 2017. Sadly, she was furloughed from the UC Service Center in Allentown. Susan again registered to participate in Dislocated Worker services, this time in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) program. 

Once Susan became a WIOA participant, she enthusiastically attended many CareerLink activities: Directed Job Search, Employer Spotlight, and various workshops. Susan said she recognized numerous people who assisted her three years earlier, and that made her feel very comfortable when visiting the office. She updated her resume and was always open to the recruiters’ suggestions about various job leads.

Susan applied for a clerical position at the Lehigh County Housing Authority and was quickly called for a job interview. After anxiously waiting several months, the organization offered her a fiscal assistant position to work 37.5 hours a week making $16.00 per hour.  Susan started working there on May 22, 2017. 

When her career advisor called Susan to inquire about her first week on the job, she was happy and excited about her new work environment. Despite having other potential employment opportunities, Susan said she plans to stay at the Lehigh County Housing Authority in Emmaus, PA. She’s enjoying her new co-workers and is happy and grateful to be on this adventure.

 

CareerFORCE (WIOA Youth Program)

Joshua was eligible for CareerFORCE in February of 2017 through basic skills deficiency, low income, and an additional barrier of being an English language learner. About a year and a half ago, Joshua moved to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic to build a better life. He wanted to pursue a career as a CDL truck driver, but he was concerned about his English not being “perfect enough”, as well as not having the financial means to purchase books and other necessities should the program not cover the costs of the CDL training. His career advisor encouraged, empowered, and assured him that he would have much support on his journey and that they would find a way to make it all work, as long as he stayed determined and focused.

Joshua was very motivated to complete the program and committed fully to phase one. He frequently checked in with various staff members to ensure that he was completing his checklist and attending the needed workshops. He worked with the CDL recruiter to update and tailor his resume to his chosen industry. Joshua refined his interview skills by attending the Ace the Interview workshop and then received specific feedback during his mock interview. Joshua found the interview assistance especially helpful because he could apply it to his next interview. Workshops focusing on goal setting, communication and problem solving, time and money management, and professionalism also helped prepare him for the workplace. Joshua also enjoyed an off-site trip to Northampton Community College Fowler Center to learn about community resources and continuing education available. Joshua took KeyTrain®  which helped prepare him to earn an EFL and passed WorkKeys® for training.

Joshua’s focus and drive helped him successfully earn his CDL license, and he quickly obtained full time employment upon completion of his training. He is grateful for the CareerFORCE program, the support network, as well as the opportunities the program provided. Joshua hopes to come back in the future to empower and mentor other youth who join the program.

 

Employment, Advancement and Retention Network (EARN)

Leticia came to the EARN program willing to do whatever she needed to obtain a great, sustainable career.  Although she had steady employment in the past, Leticia wanted to find a job she enjoyed, while using her great background in Medical Administration. She knew that by staying in the healthcare field, she would be able to find a job to match her skillset and the daytime hours she wanted.

Leticia quickly moved through the Employability Skills classroom, completing her tool kit and resume.  She was focused on job searching and spent the majority of her days at CareerLink® filling out a variety of applications.  Leticia also tapped into other resources at CareerLink® by meeting her recruiter who was able to present different options for employment. 

After researching and applying to numerous positions, Leticia found an excellent opportunity involving her medical and reception background.  After a very successful interview, Leticia was offered a job with Lehigh Valley Health Network.  She was so excited to land a job that matched her skills and gave her the opportunity for advancement.  Leticia will now be happily working her dream job as she begins her journey at LVHN.

 

Business Engagement Services Team (BEST)

 ational Distribution Center, more commonly known as NFI, is a fully integrated third-party supply chain solutions provider. They serve customers around the world, across a variety of industries. NFI’s business lines include dedicated transportation, warehousing, intermodal, brokerage, transportation management, global, and real estate services. NFI generates more than $1.2 billion in annual revenue and employs more than 8,300 associates. NFI operates over 31 million square feet of warehouse and distribution space, and its company-owned fleet consists of over 2,400 tractors and 8,300 trailers.

In the Lehigh Valley, its presence can be seen at a 1,000,000 square foot distribution center located in Kutztown, PA. This location provides 40% distribution of the global volume of Ocean Spray. This demand has prompted a steady need for warehouse associates, to include forklift operators. A new hire can expect a starting wage of $15.25/hour, with operations supervisors making over $26.00/hour. The company is willing to train through the OJT program, and so far this year, they have hired four program-attached individuals, providing each with work-based training.

CareerLink® staff will continue to post jobs and refer program-attached participants for the many job opportunities that continue to develop with this company. We hope to provide a steady pipeline of workers, and look forward to conducting future OJTs with NFI.

 

 

Allentown Employment and Training Center (AETC) - PA CareerLink Lehigh Valley Satellite Office

The first time Elizabeth, a long-time participant, visited the AETC a few years ago, she had just been let go from a company she was with for almost ten years due to downsizing. Since then, she has struggled to find full-time employment with a company that values her strong work ethic and dedication.  Throughout the time that Elizabeth has been coming to the center, the AETC has helped her to create and update her resume  and apply for multiple hospitality positions in between temp assignments.  Most recently, she was working two part-time positions: one with custodial services at the arena and another with housekeeping at the Lehigh Valley Mall.  When the Lehigh Valley Mall let her go due to a lack of available work and her hours at the arena began to slow, she returned to the AETC once again. 

This time, Elizabeth worked closely with staff to update her resume and search for full-time, direct-hire hospitality positions.  With the help of a substantial resume that highlights her extensive experience in hospitality and housekeeping, as well as her knowledge of various types of industrial cleaning equipment and practices, she quickly garnered the interest of multiple companies. 

Flik Lifestyles, a growing hospitality company with ties to the Compass Group, invited her in for an interview. She prepared by meeting with staff and practicing tough questions including her lack of a high school diploma and apparent “job hopping” over the last few years.  Elizabeth didn’t leave anything to chance, and all of her preparation paid off.  Flik Lifestyles offered her a full-time housekeeping position, earning $9.00 an hour with benefits.  After getting help to complete the lengthy onboarding process, Elizabeth now has a full-time position with a company that she hopes to be with long term.  Since the arena is convenient and has treated her so well, she continues to work there part-time in addition to Flik.

 

Bethlehem Employment and Training Center (BETC) - PA CareerLink Lehigh Valley Satellite Office

Carlos was referred to the BETC by the President of the Board for HCLV.  He had just arrived here in search of the American dream and to start a family.

Carlos’ story started in the Dominican Republic where he became well rounded in both the manufacturing and hospitality fields and managed a small business as a personal barber.  For three years he worked at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, gaining fundamental experience in a high-end hospitality establishment.  During his time there, he took it upon himself to learn both English and Russian in order to provide world class customer service and increase his marketability. 

After relocating to PA, Carlos was very anxious to return to the workforce but became a bit discouraged by the lengthy process of obtaining the proper documentation.  He also had some concerns about his limited English, specifically regarding to the interview process.  Nevertheless, Carlos was very determined to find employment.  To help assuage his apprehensions, we conducted a mock interview and provided some handouts with interview questions and common responses for him to review. We also helped him spruce up his resume and complete several applications including HTSS, Zulily and Millwood. 

About a week later, I was informed that Carlos had an interview and was offered an opportunity with a local employer; however, the offer was withdrawn without explanation.  The situation left Carlos feeling discouraged.  In an effort to raise his spirits and boost his confidence, we reached out to HTSS and followed up on his application.  Carlos was given an interview for the following day.

HTSS followed up with the BETC after Carlos’ interview and informed us they were very impressed with him.  It was refreshing to see a well-grounded individual with such enthusiasm and outstanding work ethic get exactly what he deserved.  They offered Carlos an opportunity with Cigars International.  He will be working 40 hours a week, earning $14.00 an hour, with a strong possibility of becoming a permanent employee.

Easton Employment and Training Center (EETC) - PA CareerLink Lehigh Valley Satellite Office

At the EETC, staff believes in the individuals who take the first step to walk through the door.

Barbara came into the Easton site knowing what type of job she wanted and allowed staff to support her in her pursuit to find employment. Barbara had over twenty years of experience as a waitress and preferred to find employment in hospitality. She utilized the computer lab by applying through numerous job search engines and also went door-to-door to local restaurants filling out applications.

The Fish Market, a restaurant in downtown Easton, reached out to Barbara and asked her to come in for an interview. She was on her way to her scheduled appointment and accidently went through the wrong door to another restaurant, Mesa, right next door to The Fish Market. The manager of that restaurant urged her not to keep her appointment because he wanted to hire her as a server for his own establishment.

Barbara is now working at Mesa as a server and doing great!  Regardless of the multiple obstacles that were in her way, she never let them hold her back and achieved her goal of finding employment in hospitality.

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