Facing Forward to Success


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Working for YouChester, Pennsylvania, is a tough place to grow up. The city began bleeding jobs in the 1960s and never recovered; today it is known for high violent crime statistics.

Not surprisingly, life for Chester native Chaniqua Granberry hasn’t been easy. She struggled with anger issues due to volatile relationships with family members at home. At one point she was placed in the custody of her great aunt, which offered a new start – but she continued getting involved in altercations.

Chaniqua was eventually placed on probation for assault, with adult charges pending against her. It was then that her parole officer told her about the Face Forward 2 program at the Boys & Girls Club of Chester, which helps court-involved young people ages 14-24 learn the employment skills they need for good jobs.

ChaniquaBut Chaniqua was not eligible to begin the program until the pending adult charges were dropped. Recognizing her self-destructive path would keep leading down the road of negativity, she seized the opportunity to turn her life around for the better.

While she was waiting, she diligently met with her probation officer and never missed a court hearing. Finally in July 2015, the charges were dropped and she was able to enroll in Face Forward 2 a month after graduating from Chester High School.

Working closely with her case manager, Chaniqua attending weekly training and mentoring meetings, updated her resume, and applied to jobs and schools. Her goals? Pursue trade or post-secondary schooling and also secure employment to support her educational endeavors.

Her commitment and focus paid off: Now 19 years old, she is a full-time student in the Pennsylvania Institute of Technology’s accelerated nursing program and she works two part-time jobs as a transportation aide and cashier to support herself. She plans to finish the nursing program in 2018, and hopes to be a registered nurse in the next five years.

“The Face Forward 2 program changed my life because it gave me a better outlook and helped me become a better person,” she shared.

Many young people like Chaniqua in communities across the country need an opportunity to build a better life for themselves. The Face Forward program is funded by a grant from the Labor Department to Connection Training Services in Philadelphia as part of an initiative to remove barriers to employment for young people just like her.

Learn more about reentry employment grants here, or connect with local job and training resources at CareerOneStop.org.

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.

Joanna Hawkins is a public affairs specialist for the department in Philadelphia.

 


Adelante, Con Dirección al Éxito

Por Joanna Hawkins

Es duro crecer en la ciudad de Chester, en Pennsylvania. La ciudad empezó a tener una sangría de puestos de trabajo en la década de 1960 y no se ha recuperado desde entonces. Hoy se la conoce por sus altas estadísticas de violencia criminal.

No es de extrañar por ello que la vida de Chaniqua Granberry, natural de Chester, no haya sido fácil. Ella ha tenido que bregar con problemas de ira en su hogar por interacciones convulsas con miembros de su familia. En un momento dado se la puso al cuidado de su tía abuela, lo que posibilitó un nuevo comienzo, pero ella continúo involucrándose en altercados.

Chaniqua terminó recibiendo un grado de libertad condicional por asalto, con cargos pendientes contra ella como adulta. Fue entonces cuando su oficial de probación le habló del programa Face Forward 2, del Boys & Girls Club de Chester. Este programa ayuda a jóvenes de 14 a 24 años envueltos en asuntos judiciales a aprender las destrezas laborales que necesitan para poder obtener buenos empleos.

Pero Chaniqua no podía registrase en el programa hasta que no se le retiraran los cargos pendientes contra ella. Reconociendo que su senda autodestructiva la iba a llevar al camino de la negatividad, ella aprovechó la oportunidad para darle un vuelco a su vida.

Mientras esperaba el momento de su elegibilidad, Chaniqua mantuvo diligentemente sus reuniones con su oficial de probación y nunca perdió una cita en la corte. Finalmente, en julio del 2015 se le retiraron los cargos y se pudo inscribir en Face Forward 2 tras un mes de haberse graduado de la Chester High School.

Trabajando en estrecha colaboración con la persona administradora de su caso, Chaniqua asistió a los entrenamientos semanales y a las reuniones de consejería, actualizó su hoja de vida, y se puso a aplicar a escuelas y a trabajos. ¿Sus objetivos? Lograr un oficio o tener una educación post-secundaria, y también asegurarse un empleo para poder pagarse sus esfuerzos educativos.

Su compromiso y enfoque dieron sus frutos: hoy con 19 años, Chaniqua es estudiante a tiempo completo en el programa acelerado de enfermería del Instituto Politécnico de Pensilvania, y trabaja dos empleos a tiempo parcial como asistente de transporte y como cajera para poderse mantener. Ella espera terminar su programa de enfermería en 2018, y espera convertirse en una enfermera certificada en los próximos cinco años.

“El programa Face Forward 2 cambió mi vida porque me hizo vislumbrar un mejor futuro y me ayudó a convertirme en una mejor persona”, dijo.

En comunidades de todo el país muchos jóvenes como Chaniqua necesitan una oportunidad para que puedan hacerse una vida mejor. El programa Face Forward 2 está financiado con fondos del Departamento de Trabajo a Connection Training Services en Filadelfia como parte de una iniciativa para eliminar barreras al empleo para jóvenes exactamente como ella.

Aprende más aquí sobre recursos financieros para programas laborales de reentrada o conecta con recursos locales de empleo y formación en www.CareerOneStop.org

Joanna Hawkins es especialista en información pública para el departamento en Filadelfia.

 

 


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Comments

Re: Facing Forward to Success

What a wonderful beginning for this lovely young woman! Hopefully she won't two jobs forever. Good luck!

This story is very touching and close to my heart. I am a follow Pennsylvanian from the city of Philadelphia. This story strikes a major chord with me in that the educational paths Chaniqua mentioned were "trade" and post secondary education (college bound). Having graduated from a vocational high school and having gone the path of college to attain my BS, many of my class peers, both male and female, were just like Chaniqua. I applaud Chaniquia for staying the path and taking full advantage of a life changing opportunity. Several of the classmate peers became nurses and one is a practice pediatrician. Kudos Chaniqua!

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