Bathu Do has lived in Austin since October 2014. During her years in Austin, Bathu has advanced her career in project/program management and strategy. She then recently decided to purchase a home.
Unfortunately, a few weeks after closing on her house, she was let go from her employer in November 2017. With no income, her housing situation became uncertain. Rather than worry, Bathu acted—she realized she did not have the IT certificates required by local employers, so Bathu identified what industry knowledge to acquire to become more competitive in the Austin job market.
She visited the unemployment tax office in North Austin, and came across a flyer describing opportunities in continuing education and training: “I was looking to get my Project Management Professional [PMP] certification to make myself more marketable in my job search, and that was available,” said Bathu. “They referred me to Workforce Solutions Capital Area, where I found Kalinda Smith.”
Kalinda, a WERC Career Counselor with Workforce Solutions Capital Area, met with Bathu in February. “She was courteous and sympathetic to my situation,” said Bathu. “It was refreshing to have Kalinda by my side, because she really lifted my spirits when I felt like I had nowhere else to go.”
With Kalinda’s assistance, Bathu participated in the Workforce and Education Readiness Continuum (WERC) program. WERC is a network of community partners that provide education and workforce services to Austin-area residents.
Through WERC, Bathu received tuition assistance for classes at Extellent Professional Development Center, where she studied project management and completed the Certified Scrum Manager training (Scrum is a framework for managing complex software and product development). Bathu also trained in ITIL, which are IT service management practices that focus on aligning IT services with the needs of a business.
While participating in WERC, Bathu received gas cards to travel to and from her classes and assistance with meeting her March mortgage payment to ensure she had a stable place to live.
“I’ve met so many people through the program and in my classes. The experience has been truly rewarding and uplifting at the same time. It gave me a light at the end of the tunnel. I would highly recommend WERC for anyone in need,” Bathu said.
In April, Bathu began working as a project manager for Association Member Benefits Advisors. She will receive her PMP certification at the end of May.
“Bathu is going to be setting up a new department at AMBA, and is really leaning into her new role,” said Kalinda.
“Extellent is part of my business network now, and I feel so honored to have met them. They have helped me in so many ways, right from the beginning,” Bathu said. “These people truly care about your experience and the knowledge you gain when you attend any of their classes. They’re so approachable that I try and refer them to as many people as I can.”
Bathu has experienced a roller coaster of events, from unemployment and potentially losing her new home to earning professional skills and gaining work in a management position. In that time, she has learned so much.
“Look at all avenues available to you, and always build your network of communications. You have got to put yourself out there, to know what you can and cannot get. It may feel like the door closes more often than not, but the right job for you is waiting for you,” said Bathu.
“Even when you think you have exhausted every tool and option, there’s more. Go find it; nothing comes easy but it will help you build your character. I’m so thankful for all my experiences, because it has always taught me something. Good or bad, I’ve become stronger and more determined, and so can you!”
The Workforce and Education Readiness Continuum (WERC) provides client services ranging from Adult Basic Education (ABE) and English as a Second Language (ESL) to job readiness instruction and occupational training with the goal of empowering clients with the skills they need to advance their employment opportunities and realize their economic potential.
For more information, program specifics and eligibility requirements, please visit www.wercaustin.com.