Urban Pathways’ support of our clients continues even after they move to greater independence. Vanessa’s plan to get her G.E.D. was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic as in-person classes were shut down indefinitely. After learning that she was not going to complete her G.E.D. program in 2020, Vanessa became despondent.

Seeking to find employment to pay her bills, Vanessa was referred by her Case Manager to Urban Pathways’ UPwards Employment Program in July 2020. The UPwards Employment Program assists participants in developing their resumes, completing job applications, and preparing for interviews. The program also addresses barriers to employment by matching skills and experience with employment opportunities.

When we last spoke to Vanessa, she had recently moved into Howard Amron House. After working with Employment Specialist Michael, Vanessa was hired for a three-month assignment, performing COVID-19 disinfecting and general maintenance in commercial buildings.

Soon after, Vanessa tested positive for COVID-19 and was out for several days. When she returned to work, Vanessa had a difficult time getting her full hours back. She became frustrated with the situation and resigned from the company shortly before her assignment was scheduled to end.

Vanessa, still living on her own at Howard Amron House, had budgeted and saved money from her job to pay her expenses, but she still wanted to get back into the workforce. Not working was making her depressed and withdrawn. “I didn’t work this hard to get to where I am now, to just give up. I needed to work again.” She reached back out to the UPwards Employment Program asking for help in finding a new job.

Working again with the UPwards Employment Program, Vanessa met with Michael remotely once a week and kept in touch daily via emails or phone calls to go over job prospects, Vanessa also met with Michael as a source of encouragement. “It’s very hard to find a job right now and our program participants can be easily discouraged.” Says UPwards Program Director Maria. “We try to keep in touch as much as possible with weekly check-ins and touch bases on updates, and job leads to keep their spirits up.”

Soon after, Vanessa received a job offer as a full-time building porter. Vanessa was hired and started in April working 40+ hours a week.

Vanessa’s outlook has greatly improved over the last couple of months. Thanks to Urban Pathways’ UPwards Program, she is now working again and can focus on her goals. She will be attending night school full-time after work to complete her G.E.D. so she can reach her ultimate goal of becoming a Peer Specialist serving those in need.


By Urban Pathways on November 19, 2020