Client Success Story – Donald Gates

November 27th, 2017 by

Donald Gates struggled to find a job because of his criminal background. As a husband and father, the weight of providing for his family grew heavier by the day. When he heard that the Chatham Apprentice Program was offering their E3 (Education, Empower, Employ) class coupled with a forklift safety certification, he jumped at the chance to participate. Donald thought a certification would make him more appealing to employers, so he filled out an application and attended the first class of 2016.

At CAP, Donald learned new skills such as resume writing and interview techniques. He found the record restriction portion of the class, provided by Georgia Legal Services Program, to be especially beneficial. Now he better understands his criminal record and can confidently explain his past to potential employers.

“And confidence,” says Donald, “is the best thing I gained from the program. Honestly, before CAP I struggled to present myself as a responsible and respectable person. Now I feel proud of who I am.”

After graduation, Donald secured a job at a local warehouse at $10.00 an hour. However, he felt he could do more. So he started his own business, Gates Lawn Care. It wasn’t long before he could focus on his business full-time and Donald credits this success to CAP.

“With the help of CAP, I became aware of how a potential employer sees me. I learned how to answer questions and approach people with confidence.  Now I use those skills when I’m handing out my business cards or flyers. I can knock on a door and sell myself.”

Today, Donald proudly says, “I feel like I’m setting a good example for my kids. Now they see that I’m able to make my own way and that I will turn around and give others the opportunities that I didn’t have.”

And when he is ready to hire more employees, he knows the first place he will look – the Chatham Apprentice Program.

Learn more about the Chatham Apprentice Program at www.capsavannah.org.

 

 

Client Story – Keya Jest

November 17th, 2017 by

“Forget it, this is never going to work, I’m a convicted felon and nobody wants me!” 

This feeling of hopelessness haunted Keya Jest for years.  Substance abuse and addiction resulted in an extensive criminal background.  For many, this would have been the end of the road, but Keya overcame her addiction, and she looked forward to a new beginning. Regardless of being substance-free for two years, Keya’s criminal background was a barrier to finding a good paying job. Keya’s outgoing and sunny disposition helped get her many job offers, but once the employer completed a background check the offers were rescinded.

In 2016, she learned about Step Up’s Chatham Apprentice Program (CAP). At the time, she was working two part-time, low-paying hospitality jobs and barely making ends meet while pursuing a degree in business management at Savannah Tech. Despite her busy life, she made the time to attend the CAP classes, and now says it was one of the best decisions that she ever made.

CAP’s curriculum includes soft skill training, mock interviews, financial education, and legal assistance.  The mock interviews introduced Keya to the details that make a big difference when meeting a potential employer, such as poise and professionalism.

“During class, I was tired of doing all the interviews but once I walked into a real job interview, I was so thankful for the practice,” says Keya. “I carried myself with confidence.”

Keya also learned vital financial skills such as building credit, saving for the future, and choosing a bank account from the financial education provided by Consumer Credit Counseling Services. Keya started to dream again, envisioning a wedding and owning a home. But for Keya, meeting Nancy DeVetter of the Georgia Legal Services Program in CAP was a game changer. Nancy worked with Keya to identify eligible records on her background check that could be restricted from public view and explained how Keya could communicate these records with potential employers.

When Keya next applied for a higher wage job it was a different story. Keya explained her history to the employer and provided a character reference from CAP staff.  The employer decided to act outside of their regular course of action and brought Keya onboard.

Keya’s new normal includes being substance-free for three years, a good paying job with benefits that she loves, and being able to take care of her rescue dogs.  Step Up introduced Keya to a pathway to prosperity and she has never looked back.

On October 12, Keya hosted Step Up Savannah’s 12th Annual Meeting. She was spectacular! We are so proud to have her as both a CAP graduate and friend.

Do you want to see more people find their pathways to prosperity? Step Up needs your help to continue this important work. Please take a moment to donate today. 

 

 

Step Up is Hiring!

February 24th, 2017 by

PT Graphic Design and Grant Coordination Associate

Step Up Savannah seeks a self-motivated individual with graphic design and project management skills to assist in achieving program goals and communicate impact.

The ideal candidate has experience in the production of print advertising, websites, web banners, and landing pages as well as posters, banners, and signage. This is an 8-16 hour/week position; days flexible.

Responsibilities will include meeting with program leads to determine the scope of a project, develop graphics and creating designs to accurately portray the desired message, presenting to the department, and working with vendors. We are looking for an individual with strong conceptual skills and the ability to look at projects from various perspectives to design innovating approaches and solutions.

In addition, this position will assist with grant reporting and project assessment through tracking expenses and progress toward grant goals as well as assisting Step Up staff in preparing grant reports.

Skills Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design or related field or 2+ years of relevant experience
  • Adobe Creative Suite
  • Microsoft Office with exceptional Microsoft PowerPoint skills
  • WordPress
  • Experience with branding
  • Ability to see project through from beginning to end with minimal supervision
  • Strong attention to detail

To apply, send a resume and cover letter to Carole Fireall at cfireall@stepupsavannah.org.