Maria Peru is a single parent who wants to do the best she can for her three boys. However, beginning her career was a struggle without a GED or work experience. Difficulty finding child care, and also reliable transportation, only increased her challenges.
Despite these difficulties, Maria stayed motivated. In May, she attended a Workforce Orientation for Applicants (WOA), an introduction to Workforce Solutions office services. Through this orientation, staff worked with Maria to develop and employment plan and provided her child care so that she could look for work.
Finding child care for her son who has ADHD was a large barrier to finding work: “I was having trouble putting him in a child care center that could provide his medicine daily, so he stayed out of child care for a good two months,” Maria said.
To remove this barrier, Maria was offered assistance through the Continuity of Care Services (Coc) program. Workforce Solutions Capital Area extended child care services to assist Maria in finding and keeping a job without disruption, according to Kristi Vidaure, Child Care Customer and Provider Relations Coordinator.
With her child receiving care at a Texas Rising Star quality-rated center, Maria dedicated herself to finding work. She set a goal to place herself in a customer service role before August, and for two weeks made a full-time effort of seeking employment.
“I was at the career center every day on the computer, looking for jobs, applying for jobs, updating my resume, and also going to interviews almost every day,” Maria said. “It was hard, but also really helpful.”
Maria found a job in June—not only had she achieved her goal, but she had done it early.
Today, Maria works full time as a collections agent at Financial Corporation of America. Her future plans include earning her GED and enrolling at Austin Community College.
“My next step is going back to school for business management or legal aid. They assist people, and I am interested in that,” she said.
“Don’t give up! I didn’t give up, and I was employed in two weeks because I went to the career center every day. Workforce Solutions is awesome, and I love it,” said Maria.
CoC serves as a dual-generation program for low-income families in Travis County, focusing on the whole child as well as the family and community context for growth and development. CoC ensures continuity of services in instances where child care would otherwise be terminated, such as when parents have completed workforce development programs and are currently seeking employment.
CoC ensures continuity of high-quality child care for low income families, serves as an investment rather than an expenditure to the City of Austin because it promotes family self-sufficiency by increasing family capacity to gain or maintain earnings, and provides consistent high-quality child care which helps prepare children to enter kindergarten.
This program is funded by Travis County and the City of Austin, and administered by the Workforce Solutions Capital Area Workforce Board. Workforce Orientation for Applicants (WOA) is an introduction to Workforce Solutions office services.