With only a high school diploma, Yodalsy Santoyo had managed to achieve some stability with a 12-year career as a customer care representative at a call center in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. She worked hard to provide sterling customer service, and even advanced to become a customer service coach and supervisor at her company. That was before her position was eliminated and outsourced overseas. Yodalsy’s outlook had suddenly become bleak.
Workers like Yodalsy whose livelihoods are affected by global trade are the reason that the Labor Department administers the Trade Adjustment Assistance program, which provides adversely affected workers with opportunities to obtain the skills, credentials, resources and support they need to become reemployed. Since 1975, the TAA program has served more than 2 million workers.
The program offered Yodalsy an opportunity for a new beginning, and she seized it. She was found eligible for TAA training benefits and, with an interest in the high-growth information technology field, she made the decision to earn an Associate of Science degree in Networking Services Technology.
The program provided income support while she was taking the approved training and Yodalsy immersed herself in her studies, maintaining a 4.0 GPA every college semester. Yodalsy is grateful that she was able to successfully earn her associate degree, with honors, through the TAA program − but she didn’t stop there.
Yodalsy recognizes that at present, the IT field is a male-dominated industry and says her motto is, “I’ll have to work harder than the rest.” So she has set her sights on earning a bachelor’s degree, and Broward College awarded her a scholarship for the fall 2015 semester. Yodalsy was hired part-time to work alongside the Broward College IT team, where she is gaining hands-on experience applying her training and learning new skills.
A professor, confident of Yodalsy’s abilities and potential, personally recommended her for an IT consultant position with a South Florida employer, where she now works full time and has been promoted to project manager. “I am eternally grateful for what this program has done for myself and my family,” Yodalsy said.
Because of her drive and hard work − and expanded horizons thanks to the TAA program − Yodalsy now faces a new and promising future.
Editor’s note: The “DOL Working for You” series highlights the Labor Department’s programs in action. View other blog posts in the series here.