After making the decision to switch careers, how can you be certain you know every step to take next? A life choice like this can be daunting if you’re unsure how to proceed, and more so if you are raising a child. To help ease the process, Workforce Solutions Capital Area offers a variety of services for parents who are seeking work, like Nallely Silva.
In late 2017, Nallely was raising a 3-year-old boy and working at a dental clinic. She was having a bad day, but it soon began to improve: “I was working at the front desk and I was crying because I felt like a failure. I was going through a separation and felt I needed to do something with my life,” Nallely said. “There was a hygienist there who asked me what was going on.”
The hygienist recommended Nallely get in touch with Capital IDEA, one of our community partners that provides financial support and professional guidance to nontraditional students.
“She said she had received assistance from Workforce Solutions and Capital IDEA and had found a job while caring for her five children, so if she can do it then I can. She helped me sign up,” Nallely said.
At Workforce Solutions Capital Area’s North Career Center, Nallely met with Theresa Nealy, Child Care Navigator, who assisted Nallely in enrolling in the Continuity of Care (CoC) program. CoC provides quality child care services while parents search for a job and is funded by the City of Austin and Travis County.
Once enrolled, Nallely began working part time and taking classes at Austin Community College with a focus on occupational therapy. She also studied for certificates as a Registered Dental Assistant and Certified Nursing Assistant, with support from Capital IDEA.
“I brought my son to child care early and I had classes early in the morning, so it was an adjustment for sure,” Nallely said.
Even with long days and a busy class schedule, Nallely found the experience satisfying and the healthcare industry as a place where she can thrive: “I think I have a calling for healthcare. People have shared with me that I am very intuitive, and I really understand my relationship with my client.
“I mold myself to what they need, and I can relate to them. I have a lot of empathy and I feel that is very important in the healthcare field because you are dealing with people—their lives and families—and not numbers,” said Nallely.
Today, Nallely works in a private home healthcare role for Blue Water Homecare at an assisted living facility: “I am with one person, which I love. I like to be with one person to learn what they need from me, it’s interesting and fun.”
Nallely’s direct supervisor, a Registered Nurse, graduated with Capital IDEA’s assistance in 2009: “I feel that she understands my need for flexibility with my schedule and can relate to the demands of juggling school, work and single motherhood,” said Nallely.
“She takes a special interest in supporting my goals, providing me with access to valuable learning opportunities and professional mentorship that will help me be successful in my future career,” Nallely said.
“Nallely is a great example of how the right support, coupled with determination, can lead to success for individuals and their families. For Nallely and other parents returning to school, childcare is critical. We were able to provide Nallely with career guidance and financial support for her education,” said Eva M. Rios-Lleverino, Deputy Executive Director at Capital IDEA.
“Our partners—Workforce Solutions Capital Area, the City of Austin and Travis County—through through Continuity Care ensured Nallely’s son was in good hands. As a result, Nallely was able to set a career goal, invest time in studying, and earn credentials that will continue to benefit her the rest of her life,” Eva said.
Looking ahead, Nallely plans to continue her education by earning a Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences degree and ultimately a master’s degree. Nallely knows this will be a challenging experience, but she also knows that she is ready for it.
“Changing like this is hard, especially if you have children or if you don’t have a steady income. But it’s so worth it,” Nallely said. “If you know you have potential, then just do it. Looking back, it was so fun and it’s amazing to learn what you can handle and do in such a short amount of time.”
About Continuity of Care
Continuity of Care (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.