Success Stories Archive

A Young Mother's Brush with Success

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Youth Engineers a Brighter Future

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Veteran Bridges Credential Gap to Employment

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Professionalism and Positive Attitude Lead to Perfect Job

Messay and his wife immigrated to Alexandria, VA in June 2013. He enrolled in the WIA program after visiting the Alexandria SkillSource Center, in August. Messay previously worked as a Public Health professional specializing in Epidemiology and Biostatistics and holds a Master’s degree in Public Health from Ethiopia.

He had specific goals to obtain certification and, with his case manager, develop an active job search plan. Determined to return to the public health profession he pursued WIA funded Medical Billing and coding training.

While in training, Messay was referred to a case manager position with Neighborhood Inc. He interviewed and was offered the job, his first U.S. position. In January 2014, he successfully completed certification. Messay expressed gratitude towards for the WIA program and his case manager stating, “She is a gifted professional, selfless helper and here I am now I got a job, the perfect one.”

Job Training Leads to Animal Health Career

Nathalie Rahnama was laid off from two previous positions and had no success applying for jobs, attending recruiting events, and pursuing Virginia Employment Commission leads. She enrolled in the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) program and expressed interest in pursuing an On the The Job Training (OJT) opportunity. In April 2014, through assistance from her case manager and job developer, she was placed into a 17-week opportunity with NOVA Pets Health Center. She made use of communications and public relations skills in her new Marketing and Events Coordinator/Administrative role. The employer reported Rahnama’s positive performance to her WIA case manager. When the OJT contract expired in July 2014, Rahnama was hired fulltime.

Overcoming Fear on Road to Self-Employment

Jesselle, a Social Security disability beneficiary, contemplated self-employment as an alternative to accommodate a medical treatment schedule. However, she feared work may jeopardize her healthcare benefits. Jeselle contacted the SkillSource Ticket to Work (TTW) program, which helps disability beneficiaries return to work and navigate Social Security rules and work incentives.

At the initial meeting, she developed a self-employment roadmap, became familiar with available work incentives and learned how to report self-employment wages to Social Security. Once she understood her options she exclaimed, “You don’t know how much pressure it took off me!” The benefits expertise provided by TTW gave her peace of mind to move forward.

Jesselle sells supplemental insurance to businesses and recently made her first sale. Her short-term earnings goal is to make at least $30,000 per year with a long-term goal to "surpass 10 years and earn six figures.”

Grab A Basket

Becoming self-employed has its challenges and even more so for an aspiring entrepreneur who’s hearing impaired. However, it didn’t stop graphic artist Jermese Dudley who dreamed of turning her gift basket talents into a profitable business. After spotting an Employing Northern Virginia Through Entrepreneurship (ENOVATE) training program ad in the newspaper, she seized the opportunity.

With the assistance of an ENOVATE funded sign language interpreter, Dudley worked diligently to complete training and other program requirements. In July 2014, she officially opened “Grab a Gift Basket” and in a few short months showcased her business and received positive feedback at both the Fairfax County Vendor Forum and the Vendor and Craft Expo. Dudley is currently creating an online store through to sell her baskets.

Entrepreneur Had Designs on Own Business

Alexandra Krueger worked part time when she applied for the Employing Northern Virginia Through Entrepreneurship (ENOVATE) program. At that time, she was the only family member earning an income.

In June 2013, Krueger attended an ENOVATE information session and was randomly selected for the adult treatment group. Her goal was to start a decorating and organizing business. She successfully completed the Northern Virginia Community College’s two-week boot camp and other program requirements.

Krueger’s ENOVATE case manager assisted her with launching GEMA DESIGNS and getting Krueger enrolled in Advanced Interior Design training. Business Development Assistance Group staff helped establish her website and Houzz page. Today she is able to support her family stated “Without the help of ENOVATE, I would not be able to achieve my dream business.”

Veteran Establishes Multiple Employment Paths

In September 2013, after a four-month job search yielded no prospects, Julie Hoyte, attended a J4VETS program orientation. An Army veteran and laid off Deputy Project Manager, Hoyte sought job search, entrepreneurship, and training assistance.

Determined to pursue both, a project management position and start her own Health IT consulting business Hoyte enrolled in J4VETS. The Business Development Assistance Group provided entrepreneurship training. As a result she founded Health Information Technology Solutions, LLC., (HITS) and in February 2014, gathered other budding entrepreneurs to start “The Consortium of Federal Contractors.”

In parallel Hoyte attended J4VETS-funded Project Management Professional (PMP) training. She actively pursued job leads, and in October 2014, landed an adjunct faculty position teaching Anatomy and Physiology, and Patient Care Management at Westwood College. Hoyte praised the J4VETS program stating, “It not only provided employment tools and training but also provided access to veteran-focused professional and personal development.”

J4Vets Was There For Me

William Lee, a retired Army Veteran, was referred to SkillSource’s Northern Virginia Jobs for Veterans (J4VETS) program in November 2013, after being laid off from Northrop Grumman. Lee immediately expressed interest in a Project Management Professional (PMP) preparation course, which he completed in January2014. Three months later Lee obtained his PMP certification having passed the exam after his the attempt.

The SkillSource Veterans’ Job Developer assisted Lee with a job search and by June 2014 he was employed by TASC, Inc. as a Director of Capture Management making a six-figure annual salary. "The entire J4VETS Program commits to helping the Vet,“ stated Lee. “I felt as if the entire organization was working for my benefit. From assistance in obtaining training to actually finding job leads, J4VETS was there for me."

Lucrative Employment Follows Certification Training

Eric Jennings, an Army Veteran with a Service-Connected Disability, was referred to the Northern Virginia Jobs for Veterans (J4Vets) program in June 2014, after being laid off from a Cyber Security Analyst position with AT&T. One month later he enrolled and received J4Vets-funded assistance to develop a Federal Government style resumes tailor his resume for two Federal Government positions.

In parallel, Jennings pursued Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) and Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) training. In August, he successfully completed both programs. One month later, Jennings gained employment as a Security Analyst with Apex Systems and is now collecting a six-figure salary. Jennings stated his J4Vets funded CEH and CISSP trainings were essential to the interview process, since he was asked to recall many of the topics that he learned in class.

J4VETS Connects Veteran to Hiring Manager

Silke Edwards, a U.S. Army veteran, resigned her commission as an officer 15 years ago. She developed and interest in social services, after leaving the Army, and volunteering with military family support organizations. When Silke's husband retired, she decided to re-enter the workforce. Her efforts to find a social work position proved unsuccessful. A friend suggested she contact Fairfax SkillSource Center in Reston, where she learned about the J4VETS program. She enrolled in September 2013, and quickly received a job lead in her desired field. A month later, Silke was offered a Homeless Management Information System Support Specialist position with Fairfax County’s Office to Prevent and End Homelessness. Silke attributed J4Vets program staff with her job search success and stated, “Their ability to connect directly to the hiring manager, instead of applying through Human Resources, made all the difference.”

Best Career Move

Rick Ferry, an honorably discharged military veteran, was laid off in June 2013. Having no success landing an interview, he attended a Northern Virginia Jobs for Veterans (J4VETS) program orientation. Rick expressed interest in Project Management Professional (PMP) certification, and within three months completed training at Northern Virginia Community College. A Veteran’s recruiting event connected him to Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC).  He was hired as NVTC’s Manager of Veterans’ Employment and Strategic Initiatives in January 2014. Rick stated, “Without your consistent support I would not have successfully prepared for, identified or secured what I predict will be the best career move of my life.”

Training Key to Veteran’s Career Success

“J4VETS has been a blessing and was instrumental to my becoming employed again," declared Karl Scotland, a U.S. Navy veteran. After being downsized by his previous employer, Karl learned about the SkillSource J4VETS program at a job fair.  Enrolled in June 2013, his Case Manager quickly helped pinpoint strengths and connected him with IT training to enhance his skills. In July 2013, within a week of completing his CISCO Certified Networking Associate (CCNA) course, Karl landed a new position. He was hired by iDirect, Inc. as an IT Consultant / Field Service.  J4VETS was also able to pay his transportation costs for the first few weeks of his employment. 

Citizenship to CDL

After one-on-one support from the PWCS Adult Education Program, at the Prince William SkillSource Center, Mohamed Bangura, a Sierra Leone immigrant prepared for and passed his USCIS interview and has become an American citizen. Mohamed also earned a Certificate of Completion in Limited English Proficiency (LEP) Job Readiness Training. He created his first-ever resume with help from Center staff.

In June 2014, Mohamed entered the Workforce Investment Act Program with a goal to get his CDL license. He interviewed for a school bus driver position and has an interested employer when he passes the CDL exam. Mohamed is determined to advance his career and help his family. He said, “Because of the war in my county, I could not go to school to learn to read and write. Now I have four kids to support and need a better job so I can help my family. In my country I had no opportunities. Now, at the PW SkillSource Center I can reach my dreams.”

Race To GED

Alonso Sosa from Woodbridge, enrolled in the WIA Youth Program after seeing a “Race to GED” sign in the Prince William SkillSource Center’s window. He sought help with math and passed the GED exam in October 2013. He returned to get assistance with his resume. “I don’t have a home computer so I created [a resume] here, emailed it to IKEA, and got a job interview right away,” he explained. While working part-time, Alonso is now enrolled in the WIA Youth Pharmacy Tech Program that includes on-the-job training.



Summer Intern Defies Own Expectations

Mark Cole was interested in Auto Mechanics but had never had a job and was skeptical about the summer work program. Despite his initial doubts, Mark thrived in the program and found it rewarding. He learned workplace communication and conduct skills, as well as how to change oil, balance and change tires, and basic tune-up and radiator skills.  Despite Mark’s initial expectations, he not only finished the program, but was offered a job. Mark accepted and worked part-time, while finishing his senior year of high school. He is also enrolled as a year round WIA youth participant and is on schedule to begin a ASE certification as an Auto Mechanic through Northern Virginia Community College upon completion of his high school diploma.