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MEET CHANTEL: A TRA-Brockton Competitive Integrated Employment Services (CIES) Program Success Story

I am a single mother of a preschooler. After my daughter was born, I took time off from work to raise her because she was having a lot of health issues. When she got older and stable I decided to enroll her in daycare. In order to get a daycare voucher I had to attend a DTA approved program or participate in community service. Originally I was placed in a location that didn’t utilize my talents or help me find employment. Instead I was treated like a maid and left feeling stuck.

One day while I was at the DTA office renewing my daycare voucher Denielle Johnson, the DTA-Brockton Full Engagement Worker, asked me how my program was going. After I explained my dilemma, she gave me a referral to Training Resources of America (TRA). When I got home I researched the program and gave them a call.

The next week I started testing with Maribel Arce, TRA-Brockton’s Intake Specialist/ Assistant Instructor. She was like a second mom to me and explained the goal of the Competitive Integrated Employment Services (CIES) Program. She informed me that I would be one of the first members and that the program was still in its pilot mode. Even so, I was happy to take a step in the right direction. At first, the classes and tests were very repetitive, but I stuck with them. To switch things up, I started doing the Mavis Beacon Typing Program. It was a great refresher for me, and I was eventually rewarded an advanced level certificate. I also took two Excel classes at CareerWorks Career Center that greatly improved my computer skills. The most helpful, yet stressful portion of this program was doing the mock interviews and learning how to write cover letters. Once I learned the proper techniques, I felt more confident and was able to pass my knowledge on to fellow classmates. My TRA Career Specialist, Amanda Delossantos, provided many writing samples, and was always there to review my letters and send relevant jobs my way. She also taught me the importance of sending a cover letter with every application and following up an interview with a thank you letter within 48 hours.

During my time at TRA, I went on many interviews. I was offered three jobs that I couldn’t accept because of time conflicts. This recurring event led to some frustration because it seemed like no one was hiring first shift, Monday through Friday. One day while job searching, my sister sent me two listings on Craig’s list for positions with Independence Associates. The company was local and the jobs fit my interest perfectly. After two interviews with Independence Associates I was offered the Nursing Home Transition Coordinator position. Landing this job is very exciting and will allow me to improve my skills and knowledge within the Human Services field. With this position, I’ll be responsible for helping people with disabilities transition out of long-term care facilities and back into the community. I really enjoy helping others and hope to make a difference in my clients’ lives.

I’d recommend the Training Resources of America CIES Program to anyone who needs help transitioning back into the workforce. When you’re out of the workforce for a few years, finding a job on your own can sometimes feel overwhelming. It is good to have someone there who understands the process and is willing to work with you one-on- one. TRA was good at giving me pointers on how to separate myself from other candidates and each staff member is committed to helping you succeed.

~ Chantel

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