The following is from Andrew Larkin, OED Business and Employment Specialist:

Sam was the first person we really worked closely with in the Reentry Program. He was releasing just as we were starting to implement the program. Sam had been interested in coding and web design and thought that may be a path forward if he could find the right avenue to get there. But first, a lot of leg work needed to be done. More pressing was the fact that Sam needed to obtain a job as soon as possible to stabilize financially. We worked with Sam as he started scouting out survival jobs. He applied to several places and landed a few interviews. One interview went particularly well. Unfortunately, as a larger business they had a more stringent corporate policy when it came to hiring folks with backgrounds. The WorkSource team had a good working relationship with the company’s local leadership and were able to put in a good word for Sam. More importantly, Sam did so well in his interview that someone from the management team went the extra mile on his behalf. This individual told Sam that though he couldn’t hire him at this time, he had a friend who owned a business that was looking for someone. In that moment, Sam learned the value of networking and to always put your best foot forward, because you never know where a conversation or professional interaction might lead.

Within a couple of weeks, Sam was hired by this other employer. Frankly, this job was well within his skillset, but far from his long-term goals. That didn’t deter Sam at all. He stayed the course, thankful to have a job and steady income. Sam started networking and exploring all opportunities to skill up and progress toward his ultimate goal of working in the world of coding and web design. In his off time, he found community in mentorship and networking groups dedicated toward the world of coding and design. Sam also took a coding class that Jenny with COIC was able to help pay for. Sam kept pushing forward. Sam quickly learned the basics of coding and was beginning to get the hang of things. He was accelerating so rapidly, that one of his mentors told him it wouldn’t be necessary to continue with formalized training or schooling. Upon hearing this Sam turned his focus to the possibility of starting his own business. The WorkSource team referred Sam the local Small Business Development Center at COCC and SCORE. Sam could see his goal taking shape and decided to give himself a couple of months to take the plunge into self-employment. We encouraged Sam to keep networking and focus on some of the surrounding communities who might have unmet needs for Web Design. Sam took the leap in the Summer of 2023. It was a grind, and he was second guessing himself a little in the process. But as the weeks and months went by, Sam stuck with it, and a year later he is running a successful business helping people with Web Design and Search Engine Optimization. In two years’ time, Sam went from the daunting task of starting over in his career to becoming a successful business owner whose services are coveted by customers near and far.

Sam drives his own success and would’ve always found a way to thrive in the long run. That said, he has been adamant that the support and encouragement he received through the WorkSource Reentry Program served him well. Sam has even referred several friends and people in the community to WorkSource for career services.