Success Stories

A Young Mother's Brush with Success

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Youth Engineers a Brighter Future

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Veteran Bridges Credential Gap to Employment

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Professionalism and Positive Attitude Lead to Perfect Job

Messay and his wife immigrated to Alexandria, VA in June 2013. He enrolled in the WIA program after visiting the Alexandria SkillSource Center, in August. Messay previously worked as a Public Health professional specializing in Epidemiology and Biostatistics and holds a Master’s degree in Public Health from Ethiopia.

He had specific goals to obtain certification and, with his case manager, develop an active job search plan. Determined to return to the public health profession he pursued WIA funded Medical Billing and coding training.

While in training, Messay was referred to a case manager position with Neighborhood Inc. He interviewed and was offered the job, his first U.S. position. In January 2014, he successfully completed certification. Messay expressed gratitude towards for the WIA program and his case manager stating, “She is a gifted professional, selfless helper and here I am now I got a job, the perfect one.”

Job Training Leads to Animal Health Career

Nathalie Rahnama was laid off from two previous positions and had no success applying for jobs, attending recruiting events, and pursuing Virginia Employment Commission leads. She enrolled in the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) program and expressed interest in pursuing an On the The Job Training (OJT) opportunity. In April 2014, through assistance from her case manager and job developer, she was placed into a 17-week opportunity with NOVA Pets Health Center. She made use of communications and public relations skills in her new Marketing and Events Coordinator/Administrative role. The employer reported Rahnama’s positive performance to her WIA case manager. When the OJT contract expired in July 2014, Rahnama was hired fulltime.

Overcoming Fear on Road to Self-Employment

Jesselle, a Social Security disability beneficiary, contemplated self-employment as an alternative to accommodate a medical treatment schedule. However, she feared work may jeopardize her healthcare benefits. Jeselle contacted the SkillSource Ticket to Work (TTW) program, which helps disability beneficiaries return to work and navigate Social Security rules and work incentives.

At the initial meeting, she developed a self-employment roadmap, became familiar with available work incentives and learned how to report self-employment wages to Social Security. Once she understood her options she exclaimed, “You don’t know how much pressure it took off me!” The benefits expertise provided by TTW gave her peace of mind to move forward.

Jesselle sells supplemental insurance to businesses and recently made her first sale. Her short-term earnings goal is to make at least $30,000 per year with a long-term goal to "surpass 10 years and earn six figures.”

Grab A Basket

Becoming self-employed has its challenges and even more so for an aspiring entrepreneur who’s hearing impaired. However, it didn’t stop graphic artist Jermese Dudley who dreamed of turning her gift basket talents into a profitable business. After spotting an Employing Northern Virginia Through Entrepreneurship (ENOVATE) training program ad in the newspaper, she seized the opportunity.

With the assistance of an ENOVATE funded sign language interpreter, Dudley worked diligently to complete training and other program requirements. In July 2014, she officially opened “Grab a Gift Basket” and in a few short months showcased her business and received positive feedback at both the Fairfax County Vendor Forum and the Vendor and Craft Expo. Dudley is currently creating an online store through to sell her baskets.

Entrepreneur Had Designs on Own Business

Alexandra Krueger worked part time when she applied for the Employing Northern Virginia Through Entrepreneurship (ENOVATE) program. At that time, she was the only family member earning an income.

In June 2013, Krueger attended an ENOVATE information session and was randomly selected for the adult treatment group. Her goal was to start a decorating and organizing business. She successfully completed the Northern Virginia Community College’s two-week boot camp and other program requirements.

Krueger’s ENOVATE case manager assisted her with launching GEMA DESIGNS and getting Krueger enrolled in Advanced Interior Design training. Business Development Assistance Group staff helped establish her website and Houzz page. Today she is able to support her family stated “Without the help of ENOVATE, I would not be able to achieve my dream business.”

Veteran Establishes Multiple Employment Paths

In September 2013, after a four-month job search yielded no prospects, Julie Hoyte, attended a J4VETS program orientation. An Army veteran and laid off Deputy Project Manager, Hoyte sought job search, entrepreneurship, and training assistance.

Determined to pursue both, a project management position and start her own Health IT consulting business Hoyte enrolled in J4VETS. The Business Development Assistance Group provided entrepreneurship training. As a result she founded Health Information Technology Solutions, LLC., (HITS) and in February 2014, gathered other budding entrepreneurs to start “The Consortium of Federal Contractors.”

In parallel Hoyte attended J4VETS-funded Project Management Professional (PMP) training. She actively pursued job leads, and in October 2014, landed an adjunct faculty position teaching Anatomy and Physiology, and Patient Care Management at Westwood College. Hoyte praised the J4VETS program stating, “It not only provided employment tools and training but also provided access to veteran-focused professional and personal development.”

J4Vets Was There For Me

William Lee, a retired Army Veteran, was referred to SkillSource’s Northern Virginia Jobs for Veterans (J4VETS) program in November 2013, after being laid off from Northrop Grumman. Lee immediately expressed interest in a Project Management Professional (PMP) preparation course, which he completed in January2014. Three months later Lee obtained his PMP certification having passed the exam after his the attempt.

The SkillSource Veterans’ Job Developer assisted Lee with a job search and by June 2014 he was employed by TASC, Inc. as a Director of Capture Management making a six-figure annual salary. "The entire J4VETS Program commits to helping the Vet,“ stated Lee. “I felt as if the entire organization was working for my benefit. From assistance in obtaining training to actually finding job leads, J4VETS was there for me."

Lucrative Employment Follows Certification Training

Eric Jennings, an Army Veteran with a Service-Connected Disability, was referred to the Northern Virginia Jobs for Veterans (J4Vets) program in June 2014, after being laid off from a Cyber Security Analyst position with AT&T. One month later he enrolled and received J4Vets-funded assistance to develop a Federal Government style resumes tailor his resume for two Federal Government positions.

In parallel, Jennings pursued Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) and Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) training. In August, he successfully completed both programs. One month later, Jennings gained employment as a Security Analyst with Apex Systems and is now collecting a six-figure salary. Jennings stated his J4Vets funded CEH and CISSP trainings were essential to the interview process, since he was asked to recall many of the topics that he learned in class.