Adult Success Stories
When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, Kevin Scales couldn’t have imagined being where he is today – fully trained as a hydrovac engineer, earning $52.51 an hour with benefits.
At the time, Scales had been struggling to make ends meet – in jobs that at least allowed him to spend time with his kids on the weekend, but netted him maybe $100 per week.
“Things were rough for about two years. I was going through a divorce, and had barely enough for a car payment and insurance,” Scales said. “I needed more. I needed to feed my kids, but no new job would accommodate me having my kids on the weekend.”
Enter Tamika Tonge, a San Bernardino County Workforce Development specialist whose job it is to help individuals such as Scales explore and secure career opportunities that can transform their lives.
With Tonge’s support, Scales completed truck driver training and was hired by a local trucking firm for $19 per hour. He would go on to receive his tanker endorsement, certifying that he was qualified to safely haul large volume liquid cargos. With that, he was hired at Badger Daylighting to operate a highly pressurized water truck to excavate soil – at $52.51 per hour.
“Tamika was phenomenal. She helped me all along the way, and was tough on me when I thought I couldn’t do it,” Scales said. “I’m 30 and never had a career before, so this is great.”
“My name is Carla Esnard, and I want to share my personal and professional experiences working with the High Desert America’s Job Center of California (AJCC) and the “On the Job Training” program (OJT).
“I moved to the High Desert in March of 2017 because my husband’s company relocated his position to a new plant in Adelanto. At the time, I was working from home for a family members home based business and only needed to go into the office once or twice a week, so my location was not an issue. I had been working as my cousin’s office manager and bookkeeper for almost 10 years. Shortly after moving to Victorville, my cousin had a stroke and passed away. Sadly, the business was forced to close and I was out of work. I had not had to look for work in quite some time, my resume was out of date and needed help. I reached out to the AJCC and was pleasantly surprised with all of the opportunities that were available to me. I was given pointers on how to update my resume to compete with current younger & recently graduated (just to name a few strikes against me, for lack of a better word) applicants, how to write cover and follow up letters that would stand out. Computers and internet were available for me to use at my convenience and I was assigned an awesome case worker, Lucille Hankton, who genuinely cared about me and finding employment. Constantly assuring me that I would achieve my dreams! I signed up for the OJT program and interviewed for several bookkeeping positions here in the High Desert. I was hired and even though I am no longer employed at that specific company. I know that if I had to search for work without the assistance and guidance of the AJCC, it would have taken much longer.
Currently I am working as the office manager and bookkeeper for Service Cranes Inc. in Apple Valley, Ca. We service, repair and conduct the quarterly, annual and quadrennial Cal-OSHA inspections for overhead cranes for different companies throughout the High Desert. During the height of the pandemic we found ourselves in need of a new assistant and I recommended to the owner of Service Cranes Inc. that we explore the AJCC for assistance in finding candidates. Sal Monica, the “Business Service Representative” that was assigned to assist us in finding candidates was amazing. Sal helped me to compose a job description that explained in detail what we were looking for, he created job postings not only on the SB County Job Work Force website but on the SB County Workforce Facebook and Indeed sights as well. He walked me through every step of the way, making the hiring process through the OJT program a breeze.
Since we first started working with the AJCC/OJT, Service Cranes Inc. has hired two employees through the OJT program. The OJT programs allows us to seek out individuals who are willing and ready to work but perhaps lack complete skill sets that we required. It gives us the opportunity to train individuals specifically for the position we need filled. We take the skills the candidate already has and fine tune their skills to meet our needs.
I feel the AJCC has excellent resources for all involved – both employers and candidates who are seeking employment.”
Lucila worked for 20 years as a Medical Assistant, loved working for Kaiser, but was ready for the next step. She had always wanted to become a Licensed Vocational Nurse, but had been unable to afford the training required for licensing.
During a hiatus, Lucila decided to reach out to the America’s Job Center of California (AJCC) in the High Desert for assistance. Not only was she able to secure funding for training, Lucila also received job search assistance. After completing her training and becoming a Licensed Vocational Nurse, Lucila was hired by Beaver Medical as a temporary LVN, but on an ongoing basis for almost a year. She recently secured a permanent position as an LVN at Kaiser Permanente, which is where she dreamed of returning.
“I am so excited, I can’t believe this,” said Lucila. “This was always my goal, to return to Kaiser, which will give me benefits…I just wanted to tell you, that you made a difference in my life. Thank you again, you gave me a hope when I had none, and for making this possible and being my advocate to receive training.”
While he did not take his job at Costco for granted, Matthew Richardson realized that he needed to broaden his knowledge and skills in order to move up and support his growing family. Michael dreamed of a career as a mechanical technician, but lacked the certification and training to qualify and become marketable in that industry.
Mathew was interested in working for California Steel Industries (CSI), so when he learned about On-the-Job Training offered through the San Bernardino County Workforce Development Board, he did not hesitate. Mathew is currently interning at CSI, and looking forward to a career as a millwright.
“The On-the-Job Training program made the Internship at California Steel Industries possible,” Matthew says.
Cindy Ovalle was a waitress for nine years, earning her bachelor’s degree during off hours and even squeezing in time to give back to the community through volunteer work. Then one day, the company she worked for closed its doors and she lost her job.
Cindy was unemployed for 7 months and losing hope. Then she remembered that a previous co-worker mentioned employment workshops offered through the Workforce Development Board. She contacted her local America’s Job Center of California in San Bernardino and met with Vanessa Valadez, Workforce Development Specialist.
“Vanessa really impacted my job search skills in a very positive way,” Cindy says. “From my cover letter, resume, references, sending templates, the resources were endless. She really outdid herself. She also scheduled a mock interview with me, where I received constructive feedback, which allowed me to succeed in my job search. I would still be unemployed, had I not come in. Vanessa showed me how to stand out from all the competition, and by following her advice, I succeeded. Success is only obtained if you seek to better yourself.”
Unable to find employment, Karina Marquez decided it was time to acquire new skills. A few years earlier, her husband had received the training he needed to secure a new job through a program offered by the San Bernardino County Workforce Development Board.
Karina decided to get certified as a Microsoft Office Specialist, and was referred to the New Horizons Computer Learning Center. She completed her training and almost immediately received two job offers — one from Kaiser Permanente and the other from Pomona Valley Hospital.
“I believe that without this training, I would still be looking for employment, and in fact, both organizations were very impressed with the certification I received,” Karina says.
She says she could not have done it without the support of the team of advisors at the America’s Job Center of California. “Everyone in the office was not only very nice, but also very forthcoming with pertinent information that was very helpful to me, including the resume and interview workshops,” she says. “It was a real pleasure working with all the staff.”