NC Commerce

Workforce Development, Department of Commerce

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Single Mother Finds Employment through Her NCWorks Career Center

When April Phoenix first sought the help of a local NCWorks partner, she knew she needed job training if she was going to find meaningful employment.

A single mother with an associate degree, Phoenix had tried to advance her education in the past but was prevented due to personal issues at the time. She tried working from home to take care of her daughter, but various jobs she held didn’t work out.

"I did keep up with some of my marketable skills while working from home," she said. "However, I realized that the job market had changed and that it was a very competitive market with so many individuals looking for work."

Phoenix enrolled in courses at Johnston Community College, and the director of her program encouraged her to seek out the local NCWorks Career Center, operated by the Capital Area Workforce Development Board. That’s where she met with a career advisor and was introduced to the many job-seeker services available for free at the center. Phoenix participated in one-on-one counseling and coaching, job search and placement, training, interviews skills and techniques, and career planning. She also joined a special initiative to gain a certificate in human services through the community college.

After she completed the training, she entered a paid work experience with the Harnett County Department of Social Services and sought further volunteer opportunities with the employer after she completed the program. Phoenix continued to look for jobs while she volunteered and used several websites—including NCWorks Online—to apply for jobs. The career center kept up with her on a regular basis to check on her job search.

"I do feel that one on one assistance was paramount because it kept me enthusiastic, encouraged, and informed, especially during the discouraging times," she said. "My case manager took a sincere personal interest, and I really needed that at the time. I will always be grateful for that."

Those same career center staff are available to help all job seekers. Individuals can use NCWorks Online to find their nearest career center. From there, they can call to make an appointment to go in and get their skills assessed and determine what they’ll need to enter an industry of their choice. The staff will also work with clients on writing resumes and cover letters, as well as preparing for job interviews.

Those services have paid off for Phoenix. In December 2014, she accepted a full-time job as a processing assistant with the Johnston County Department of Social Services, which also uses NCWorks Online to search for potential job candidates.

"She’s very considerate of our unit duties," said Carla Hawley, the processing unit supervisor for Johnston County Department of Social Services, of Phoenix. "She accepts responsibility if she has errors, which is a very good quality in a worker. She’s very conscientious. She’s a quick learner. She’s been a really good employee."

At one point eager to seek the training she needed to get a job, Phoenix is now part of the department’s frontline staff, helping ensure clients get the services they need. She credits NCWorks for helping her to find a job.

"To me, NCWorks and the career center is really a wonderful resource because some of the training may not be available on the other sites," she said.

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