NCWorks Helps Homeless Woman Pursue Education
When Destiny Mader sought help of her NCWorks Career Center, she didn’t originally think she would ever need it for herself.
She had been trying to help her boyfriend, who was unemployed at the time and didn’t have any marketable experience or skills. But as she listened to the center staff explain the services that were available to him through the Youth program, Mader realized that they could help her, too. A homeless high school dropout, Mader had been so focused on helping someone else that she hadn’t thought about helping herself. That changed when she started working with her career center, which is operated by the Region C Workforce Development Board.
She enrolled in the advanced manufacturing certification class offered at the career center and was curious about what the 165-hour program would entail. The manufacturing certification focuses on the soft skills identified by area employers, including motivation, initiative, positive attitude, and teamwork. Mader did more than excel in the program. In addition to earning certifications in OSHA 10 Hour Safety, Microsoft Digital Literacy, Gold CRC, Workplace Computer Literacy and First Aid/CPR/AED, she also received the first 5+ end of course rating that goes to employers. Previously, the highest recommendation possible is a 5.
Since completing the manufacturing certification class, Mader quickly completed her high school equivalency and enrolled at McDowell Technical Community College in the business administration program.
Mader also been enrolled in the Youth program. With the financial and counseling support, she has been placed in a work experience program at the career center. There, she has cross trained in several positions—welcome, data entry, teaching, customer assistance, job search, etc. She has also worked with the community college, helping with the McDowell Fire Rescue College, processing American Heart Association certifications, and fulfilling other duties.
A weakness that Destiny possesses and that the NCWorks Center is trying to correct is that she can’t be in five places at once. The Chamber of Commerce’s executive director has pleaded for the friendly and patient young adult to help at his office, and Mader admits that she wants to pursue more opportunities than time allows her to chase.
"Coming to the NCWorks Career Center has given me 'shiny object syndrome'—there are so many opportunities out there and I just want to experience them all," she said.
Mader’s boyfriend is enrolled in Welding at the community college and involved in a youth work experience with the U.S. Forest Service. Mader is continuing to pursue her business degree.