Throughout 2020 – before and during the pandemic – PA CareerLink® Suburban Station, operated by JEVS Human Services, has continued to provide comprehensive services to those seeking career opportunities. We recently heard from three program participants who described their journey.
In January of 2020, I was laid off (company downsize). It would be the 3rd time I would go on unemployment (UE) over 13 years in the workforce.
Both times prior I did not leverage the services CareerLink offered (candidly, because I did not know CareerLink existed. Moreso, this is probably because I was not paying attention to the information PA UE was providing me). However, this time around I was “forced / mandated / had to attend” a CareerLink Intro Class to ensure I would continue to receive my benefits.
I attended that class with the intentions of daydreaming for 90 minutes to make sure I would not jeopardize my benefits. However, shortly after the class began and my instructor (Ed) started by telling the class about his journey and how he got to be in front of us his message really connected with me.
While industry-wise Ed and I were very different, how we both got to be in that room on that day was very similar and through him telling the group his story (and how I related), I decided that instead of daydreaming the class away I was going to take my UE and his guidance seriously.
I was able to meet with Ed the following week to come up with a game plan. I took a test that would help confirm I was in the correct career path. I had an amazing one-on-one resume session that left me with the best resume I had ever had to that point and everything was going well. And then COVID-19 took over the world.
Millions of more jobs were lost, industries were downsized and (in short) finding my next job felt nearly impossible. However, that didn’t stop Ed. He continued to stay in touch via email and continued to share his positive messages in the craziest of times. Fast forward 5 months and I was offered a new job. I called Ed and after a 90 minute conversation we came up with a game plan revolving around accepting the job and figuring out how to make it work for me over the next 3-6-9-12 months and 2-5 years.
In short, I was a person that never wanted to meet a person like Ed, but in doing so I gained a lot of knowledge and insight around being employed, being unemployed and being able to game plan for an array of career next steps. Thanks Ed!
I was looking for a career change in my life. Therefore, I went to CareerLink on JFK Boulevard and met with Ms. Amber Byus to discuss my opportunities and qualifications for education. We discussed the IT-(SOC) Analyst Program and my steps to get approved. Once I was finished my workshop classes, I was able to move forward to meeting Ms. Vincentia Orsdiana.
Ms. Vincentia Orsdiana had to check my progress, paperwork, credentials, etc., and then signed me up to take my CASAS Exam. Once I received notice that I passed, I was referred to Ms. Aleta Phelps, who was officially signed as my advisor.
I had picked Harrisburg University/ NuPaths for my learning institution. I wrote an essay about why and what reasons I picked IT (SOC) Analyst Program. Ms. Phelps stayed dedicated to my aspirations through the whole process. She notified me in March 2020 that I was accepted for the grant from Philadelphia Works.
My experience with the whole process was extraordinary on everyone’s part. I did not know it was that much information to learn in the Information Technology field. This advance course was incredibly challenging, but very resourceful to my career. By me not having the hands-on classroom made it extremely hard. I would like to thank all my professors and staff members at Harrisburg University/ NuPaths.
I would like to personally thank Ms. Elizabeth McCurdy & Stephanie Keller (Harrisburg University/ NuPaths), Ms. Aleta Phelps, Ms. Amber Byus, Ms. Vincentia Orsdiana, Ms. Belinda Rodriquez (CareerLink), and Ms. Hillary Shayne & Ms. Alyssa Tombler (Phila Works). I deeply appreciate your due diligence throughout the process on helping me on a greater path of excellence. My prayers and blessings go out to you all.
I was laid off from a position in October 2018, so I turned to PA CareerLink to help me rebuild my resume and help me find a job. At the time, I was under the impression that CareerLink only provided a job search portal and some help with resume writing. Holy cow! That was NOT the case at all…PA CareerLink is SO much more than that.
Once I was registered, I was introduced to my Career Advisor who worked with me on a career assessment and subsequent follow up. From there I entered the Professional Networking Group where I, along with a group of 25 professionals was guided on how to brush up on networking, elevator speech, and resume writing skills. There were guest speakers and that program concluded with mock interviews with actual recruiters and HR professionals.
Then there is the WIOA program. I had never heard of such a program before, and when it was explained to me, my only thought was “What’s the catch?” This program seemed too good to be true. It took a little effort on my part, and once I was enrolled in the program, everything went as smooth as could be. I was given a choice of programs to choose from that would enhance my skills and marketability in the workforce.
Less than 12 months after I was accepted into the program, I have earned a Cybersecurity Certification from CCP as well as the CompTIA Security+ certifications. These certifications will enable me to find meaningful work that will lead to a stable career with an unlimited amount of growth potential.
My primary contact during this time, Karen Brownley, is truly a Godsend. Karen was with me every step of the way and now is actively and passionately helping me launch my new career. Karen also introduced me to Ben Adiletto, who stepped right up to help get me in the right mindset and helped hold me accountable for my job search activities.
While I have not (yet) found a permanent position to date (who would have thought relaunching a career during a global pandemic would be a challenge?), Karen, Ben, and I communicate frequently and they really seem passionate when it comes to helping people like me who are willing to work hard, but need a little help and guidance when navigating the job search process.
I know when I do find “my” job (it is out there, I know it) that this amazing group of professionals, along with the WIOA program will have been the support system that had a HUGE impact on my finding that role. Along with Karen, I would like to give a HUGE thank you to Benjamin Adiletto, Nathan Schlingmann, Jamaine Jackson, Lailin Ing, and Kendrick Payne.
For more information visit www.pacareerlinkphl.org >