Searching for a job can be a challenging experience, and more so if you have children to care for. To help ease the process, Workforce Solutions Capital Area offers a variety of services for parents who are seeking work, like Darriana Donegan.
Darriana moved from Iowa to Texas in May 2018 and stayed briefly with family in San Antonio. She made Austin her home in August 2018. “I currently live in North Austin, far enough out to feel the small city peace and quiet, but close enough to downtown to still feel connected,” Darriana said.
After her move, Darriana was unemployed and lacked the resources needed to provide child care for her son. Through word of mouth, she was able to explore assistance available from Workforce Solutions Capital Area.
“I learned about Workforce Solutions Capital Area from a friend of mine who is employed by the University of Texas and also has little ones,” said Darriana. “She recommended that I look into Workforce Solutions for childcare assistance when I began my transition from being a stay-at-home mom to a working mom.”
Darriana met with Theresa Nealy, Child Care Navigator with Workforce Solutions Capital Area, and enrolled in the Continuity of Care (CoC) program, which provides quality child care services while parents search for a job.
“My first impression of Workforce Solutions is a memorable one,” said Darriana. “Theresa left me a voicemail stating that my application had been approved and that she was looking forward to talking more with me. I was very excited to receive that call that solidified my access to being a working mom, otherwise I would not have been able to afford the full cost of child care.”
While participating in the program, Darriana had positive impressions of her experience.
“I had a great experience in the CoC program. Theresa was available to answer any of my questions in a timely manner and was always able to point me in the correct direction to resources,” said Darriana. “The paperwork was as simple as it could be and the flexibility in submitting via in person, fax, and email were super helpful for me with my new busy schedule.”
“Darriana used our resources to change her economic status and secure quality child care services for her son. This is quite an accomplishment, given the customer relocated to Austin and did not have adequate resources to obtain child care, job search and secure gainful employment,” said Theresa.
With her son receiving care, Darriana committed herself to proactively seeking a job with assistance from Workforce Solutions Capital Area. She secured a full-time position within 90 days. Today, Darriana works at Youth Rise Texas, a nonprofit in East Austin that works with young people who have been impacted by incarceration or deportation, so that they may heal, take action, and cultivate compassionate communities.
“My role at Youth Rise is Program Coordinator: I lead a team of four and together we work to coordinate all of the moving pieces that make Youth Rise programs so successful!” Darriana said.
Looking back on her experience to secure care for her son and full-time employment, Darriana offered advice for others who may be in her same situation.
“My advice to any parent who is looking to transition back into the workforce after a break is to check out the CoC program while you are on your job search,” Darriana said. “You receive 90 days of care, a plethora of job search resources (really great jobs, too!), and the time that you need to really focus on your job search.”
She added, “It’s really hard to be on the hunt for a job while worrying about having to afford child care while going on interviews. The CoC program will relieve that stress for you!”
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.