Meet Alexa from Goodwill of Orange County’s Employment WORKS Program. Seeking a new opportunity in a new environment, Alexa reached out to Employment WORKS for support in her employment journey. With the guidance of her Employment Specialist and Peer Support Specialist, she built the necessary skills to become a Peer Support Specialist herself!
We sat down with Alexa and chatted about her role at Goodwill and discussed the impact Employment WORKS had on her journey so far.
1) What is your first name, where do you work, and what is your job title?
Alexa; Goodwill Employment WORKS; Employment Specialist
2) What was your biggest barrier to getting back to work?
My biggest barrier in getting back to work was the pandemic; I wanted to work in an office setting but there weren’t many openings and I didn’t have a lot of experience in the field. Also, my son’s daycare was closed so I needed a remote position because I didn’t have a support system in place for childcare.
3) How did Goodwill Employment WORKS help you get back to work and maintain your job?
My Employment Specialist helped me with job leads that were focused on what I actually wanted to do. My Peer Support Specialist checked in with me often to make sure I had everything I needed as far as interview clothing, resources for food, and access to a computer with internet. After I had interviewed for the Peer Support Specialist position, my Employment Specialist continued to check in with me and encouraged me to keep in communication with Human Resources and my manager until I started working. Once I started working, my Employment Specialist and Peer Support Specialist continued to check in with me and ensure that I had everything that I needed to complete my job duties. My Peer Support Specialist also provided me with encouragement, which helped boost my self-confidence.
4) What is it like being an Employment Specialist at your job?
My job is really rewarding. I get to help people that were in the same position I was in. I love seeing people realize their potential and gain more self-confidence. When I was a Peer Support Specialist, I had a lot of fun providing support and encouragement, as well as soft skills training, to participants. Now, I am their point of contact. Instead of being there for support, I am there for most, if not all, of the services we provide, from job development to retention services. It’s a lot of work, but it’s very worth it.
5) How is working improving your quality of life today?
Working is improving my quality of life by improving my mental health. When I was unemployed, I struggled with keeping my anxiety under control due to feeling like I was failing my son by not being able to provide for him. Now, I don’t have to worry about where our next meal is coming from, and I’m able to do things that I enjoy and still have money to cover my bills.
6) What is your final message to anyone contemplating getting back to work?
There is a job for everyone. Do something you’re passionate about. If you don’t know what that is, test the waters by volunteering in your community. You belong in this community, and there is a role waiting for you to take it on and make it your own. Help is out there if you need it, so don’t be afraid to ask. You can do it!
Goodwill of Orange County strives to connect people like Alexa to meaningful career opportunities. Alexa’s role within Goodwill is more than a job; it’s a commitment to create a lasting impact. Alexa represents the spirit of Goodwill by transforming lives and empowering individuals to reach their fullest potential!