Jenny overcomes barriers and finds fulfilling employment

photo of Jenny, a smiling woman with long hair wearing a red shirt

Jenny’s story is an incredible testament to her perseverance in the face of nearly overwhelming obstacles – and to the incredible difference support from workforce development professionals can make. CareerForce partner Beltrami County Workforce Impact offered resources so Jenny could build a better life for herself and her family. Jenny took the initiative and continues to do the hard work on her journey. This is Jenny’s inspiring story, in her own words:

My name is Jenny and I would like to tell you my story of working with WorkForce Impact at Beltrami County. In 2018 I got sober but had not worked for three years. I decided to move back to Bemidji and ended up pregnant with my son. As a single mom, I began attending Face It Together [addition recovery center] meetings to continue working on my recovery. Even though I began as a client at Face It together, I soon began volunteering which helped make new connections to promote my sobriety. As my journey continued the previous director of Face It Together and I talked of the possibility of being hired on at Face It Together when it was in a better situation financially. I continued to volunteer a few times a week as I lived nearby and could attend with my son. I was able to continue volunteering by shadowing one of the fulltime workers to learn how to do peer support. I was able to earn some certifications through the state and then heard about a program at Beltrami County called WorkForce Impact that could cover my wages as an employee at Face It Together.

WorkForce Impact worked out a contract and after working through the program for a year, I was able to be hired as a fulltime employee. Today I am still working at Face It Together and I am the Lead Peer Recovery Support Specialist. I have been the Lead for 14 months now. I am so grateful to have had this opportunity through Beltrami County WorkForce Impact. I strongly believe if I had tried to work anywhere else throughout this time, I would have never been able to get and keep a job. Being a single parent, not having daycare, not having a vehicle, and having a criminal record were giant barriers to success for me. I was able to get a job that allowed me the flexibility to work through these difficult barriers. I was encouraged by my coworkers at Face It Together to start school – something I never thought I would do. But I am currently in school to become a social worker. I am still a single parent, but I now have two children. I have been sober for 5 ½ years. I have a job and coworkers I love, and it all started with the opportunity through the Workforce Impact program.