Today, we’re ecstatic to celebrate the success and hard work of our participant, Antonia P. Antonia was able to complete a series of classes on the subjects of food safety and CPR training. She was also able to complete online job applications, complete the onboarding process to complete employment, and participate in the employment orientation at Head Start of Lane County. Also noteworthy is Antonia’s recent completion of 8 hours of training at the University of Portland Oregon Center for Career Development, in the field of Childhood Care and Education. After a long journey, Antonia was officially hired in a permanent position on May 5th, 2020 at Head Start of Lane County, thanks to her participation in and dedication to the Connecting Communities program at Easterseals Oregon.
When Antonia first came in for an assessment, she was placed into the level 1A English class. Antonia spoke almost no English at all, and she had absolutely no formal education from her native country of Mexico. Even in her native language of Spanish, Antonia had minimal literacy skills, making it nearly impossible for her to communicate effectively in English or Spanish.
Since March of 2019, Antonia has been working with Easterseals Oregon’s Connecting Communities program, completing all 9 of our workshops in job preparedness, soft skills, and American Working Culture (multiple times). In her time taking classes with us, Antonia has made huge milestone improvements on a regular basis. She has made constant strides in her English conversational skills, learning to form questions and appropriate answers, studying phonics, and practicing her written skills such as completing forms.
Along the way, Antonia has formed important relationships with other participants in the Connecting Communities program. She was able to receive a lot of help through peer engagement and cooperation as a result of the friendships she made during classes and workshops.
Another area in which Antonia has flourished is technology. Antonia has learned how to more effectively leverage her own technology (such as her iPhone), and she has been able to practice using tablets, operating computers, and building typing skills – she currently types at about 20 words per minute. These technological-engagement skills are endlessly important when searching for employment, especially with the changes brought onto our communities by COVID-19.
Antonia most recently completed 30 classes for training in CPR with the assistance of our staff. She also completed 8 hours of training online and received 3 certificates from University of Portland in the areas of “Child Care Health and Safety,” “Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect,” and “Prevention is Better Than Treatment.” Our staff helped Antonia create an account and navigate the system to get started, empowering Antonia to do the trainings and pass all the exams to become certified. She was very satisfied with the work she did and happy about the certificates she received.
Recently, our staff coordinated the effort with all interested participants to explain what Head Start of Lane County does, including the types of jobs that are available. Antonia participated in this meeting and expressed interest in applying there. The process to apply is a lengthy one, so our Eugene office began to coordinate and make a plan to help all participants complete the application process.
Next was the Central Background Registry application. Our staff helped Antonia understand the process and fill out the applications online. Antonia learned the importance of this process and why it is necessary for many types of jobs.
Antonia was able to prepare for interviews as she participated in group interview workshops and received extra help form our staff, helping her prepare specifically for Head Start’s interviewing process. Antonia leaned heavily into the practice, and this practice paid off once it was time for the interview.
We are so very proud of all the hard work and effort Antonia has put into finding employment with Head Start of Lane County. There were so many steps along the way, but Antonia could not be happier about her new job and the success she has accomplished. We are excited for the future career of Antonia, who will have many opportunities to learn and grow at Head Start; furthermore, we are grateful for the partnership we share with Head Start of Lane County and for the hard work of all the ESO Connecting Communities staff who helped participants successfully complete the process.
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