Finding community in dark times
As the COVID-19 pandemic set in, Jen James experienced hardship after hardship. Their life began to spiral, and after getting laid off, they felt more alone than ever.
"I felt like this was only happening to me. It was very isolating," Jen remembered.
Jen was referred to Pennsylvania Women Work by a caring friend who thought the organization could help. Jen participated in New Choices and Customer Service First-Class where they gained valuable skills and, most importantly, discovered a community of other individuals experiencing some of the same obstacles and challenges as them.
PA Women Work helped Jen combine their passion for theater with their professional skillset, and they landed a job as the General Manager at the Dormont Hollywood Theater. I was able to discover myself. I feel a sense of empowerment. Definitely a sense of pride," she said.
As Jenn Kish approached graduation in May 2021, she was struggling to find a job opportunity that was right for her.
“Paralegal Studies is a broad degree. I was having trouble narrowing in on the right jobs to apply for,” Jenn explained. “On top of that, COVID made it challenging to network, and I was finding it hard to connect with the right people to help me. It was very discouraging.”
Just as her job search began to spiral, Jenn received an email about PA Women Work’s 3 Cups of Coffee GRAD program and decided to give it a try. She was connected with her mentor, Carrianne, who helped her get back on track. “She gave me advice on how I can get to where I want to go. She had the insider tips that I needed,” Jenn said. Additionally, Carrianne helped Jenn polish her resume, update her LinkedIn profile, and create a career plan.
Ultimately, Carrianne helped Jenn find a job as a legal assistant within her own company, Bowles Rice.
“Getting a job at Bowles Rice was not anything I dreamed would happen when I first connected with Carrianne,” Jenn shared.
“I am just so grateful I participated in this program. It put me on the path that I was trying to find.”
Click here to learn more about 3 Cups of Coffee GRAD.
Thank you to our 3 Cups of Coffee funders.
Arconic Foundation, United Way of Southwestern PA, FirstEnergy Foundation, Duquesne Light, J.Jill Compassion Fund, The Pittsburgh Foundation and the Snee-Reinhardt Charitable Foundation.