After getting into trouble in high school and dropping out at age 17, Jackson came to SE Works looking for a job. However, it quickly became evident to him that he'd need to earn a GED first. Jackson began taking GED classes, participated in pre-employment training, and joined the Youth Leadership Group. Although Jackson says he wasn't motivated to pursue his degree at first, he grew into a diligent and hardworking student. As a caretaker of his three-year old niece, Jackson had to juggle homework with childcare. At times this meant studying late at night, after his parents returned from work. After years of hard work, Jackson passed all of the GED tests except the writing test. Instead of getting discouraged like he would have when he began reaching for this goal, Jackson increased his efforts, augmenting classes with intensive studying on his own. Jackson successfully passed the writing test in May 2005 at age 20. The GED writing topic was leadership. Jackson drew upon his experience with the leadership group and wrote about the best leader he knows, his father. He praised his father's support for the family, strong morals, and his ability to be a good follower as well as great leader.
Ricky started working with SE Works' PPRI Program in June of 2006. He had heard about our programs from the federal halfway house where he lived, and was interested in getting vocational training and finding employment. Ricky found a temporary job working in a gym, and then started planning for his career. He attended pre-employment workshops and researched careers and short-term training options, and decided to pursue truck driving.
In December 2006, we decided to co-enroll Ricky in the WIA program to make sure he could attend truck-driving training and had all of the support he needed to succeed. The PPRI and WIA programs shared the cost of the training with Ricky, who paid a portion himself.
Ricky began his four-week training program in February 2007. We assisted him with tuition and living expenses while he was in training. After interviews with over 25 employers, Ricky landed his first full-time job hauling bark dust. Ricky appreciates the support and encouragement he got from SE Works. He says it helped him find a career and become financially stable. After Ricky gains some work experience, he plans to look for a job that uses all of his skills and endorsements.
According to Ricky's employment specialist, "He's the most positive person I've worked with in over three years! Ricky is extremely committed to reaching his goals. When he couldn't find a training school to admit him because of an earlier conviction, he persevered and found one that was willing to take him on. And he did great in school! He is always honest, has so much integrity, and is always planning to reach new goals. I really admire him."
Joe Employer Partner
For the past six years, SE Works has partnered with Joe Kennedy, Jiffy Lube Regional Manager who oversees eight stores. Last year 10 youth went to work for Joe. In fact, one young man who began in an entry-level position several years ago has been promoted to store manager. A committed advocate for youth, Joe invests in young people by providing on-the-job training and opportunities for advancement into management roles. By coaching youth as they develop positive work ethics and rewarding hard work, he's nurturing the business leaders of tomorrow and making a solid investment in our community.
In the summer of 2006, I came to SE Works when a friend of mine and I were working on siding houses for the summer. He told me about a grant program that was from the City of Portland through SE Works and how it enabled him to attend Mount Hood Community College. My friend stated that he was planning on stopping by SE Works in a couple of days and I decided to check it out for myself.
I have now graduated from Mount Hood Community College with an Associates of Applied Science in Machine Tool Technology. I have the diploma to prove it! Thanks so much Ken and SE Works for supporting me with my education and successful transition.
Since November of 2007, I have been working for Die Master, Inc. I love my work and I would not be doing what I love if SE Works have not given me the opportunity to succeed. In the future I hope to become a more integral part in the business and eventually take over an ownership role. I love going to work everyday, but more importantly, I love coming home to my family even more.
"My name is Brittany Denson and I am 23 years old. I was introduced to SE Works through Portland Impact. They teamed up to help residents like me get a job and start going to school. I attended workshops to help me develop skills for the workplace, resume building and interview techniques, which all helped me to get and keep my job. SE Works also helped me to obtain my GED...and to participate in a Pharmacy Technician Program [funded through DHS]. I will complete training in March and look forward to an internship or part-time employment.
The most significant change I have experienced is that I have so much confidence in myself and my abilities to success. I can't imagine missing the opportunity to work with this organization that is helping me to better my life and encouraging me to keep going. My case managers are wonderful and always know how to help me...They have given me hope and the potential to have a career and a pathway to come out of poverty. I want to thank SE Works and everyone who contributes to this amazing program for giving my daughter and me a chance at life."
“Employment was a major problem for me. When I came to SE Works I had not been employed in almost four years. I had just graduated from inpatient drug treatment, and DHS had recently placed my three children back with me. I was about ten months clean and sober at the time, and just learning how to live.
I came to SE Works with the goal of finding a job to pay the bills and support my kids. I got so much more. My personal advocate sat down with me, and really listened to me and asked what I wanted. She was very supportive and flexible, working around all of my other obligations. We explored all of my career options, and I decided to attend training to become a Certified Nurses Assistant. Once I graduated from the program, I began my job search and started a work experience at a drug and alcohol treatment center. In February I was offered a temporary position at the treatment center, and then in March they offered me a full-time position as a Drug and Alcohol Treatment Assistant. SE Works assisted me to pay the bills until my first check arrived and is helping me to get my driver’s license back.
I now have been clean for over two years and have a full-time job. I am not involved with DHS any longer, and am off TANF. I think the most significant change that I have experienced is in my self-esteem. I am really proud of myself and all I have accomplished. SE Works gave me guidance, the encouragement to pursue my goals, and the confidence to ask for what I need.”
I started getting into trouble at a young age. I was exposed to drug and alcohol use, and my parents divorced when I was 7. By the age of 12 I was using drugs and alcohol and had already been convicted of a felony, and by the time that I had turned 18, I had spent time in group homes, foster homes and Mac Laren School for boys. Within 2 weeks of being released from Mac Laren after my 18th birthday, I was arrested and charged with my first adult felony. That first prison sentence was followed by 5 more...
I became addicted to methamphetamine 13 years ago. During that time I systematically destroyed every relationship I had with my family, my friends as well as myself. I became a father to a little girl who didn't hold as much importance to me as feeding my addiction did. And I had gotten to a point where I didn't care about anyone, or anything. I didn't care if I lived or died as long as I was intoxicated through it all. Everyone had given up on me for good reason and I knew it. I had felt separated from society like I didn't belong. Most people with my history don't change. For years I was convinced that the only thing in store for my future was to die from my drug use or spend the rest of my life in prison. My life seemed hopeless. I had been to prison so many times and had spent 14 years incarcerated as a juvenile and an adult, I was institutionalized. I knew no other way. And I had given up hope on myself just like everyone else.
In 2006, while serving my 6th sentence in the Oregon Department of Corrections, I was fortunate to be accepted in an Alternative Incarceration Program at the Powder River drug treatment. This experience changed my thoughts about myself, my life and my future. For the first time in longer than I can remember I had hope that I could break this cycle and do something with myself for once. But I knew that I was going to have to do things that I had never done before. Letting go of everyone who I associated with in the past. Getting a job and going to it every day. Staying away from drugs and alcohol. And having realistic goals and expectations. Basically living a responsible life. These are all things that I had no experience with in the past. With no job skills or job history this was going to be a challenge for me.
I contacted SE Works shortly before I was released. I was told by my counselor in treatment that SE Works would be able to help me out with housing, clothes, looking for work and helping me get my license. So I wrote to them and they responded soon after.
Within the first week of my release I went to SE Works and was given Rekita Barron as my case worker. I had no clothes upon my release except for the clothes that I was arrested in and this stressed me because I didn't know how I was going to get clothes before I had a job to buy them. I had nothing to wear while I washed that one set. Rekita helped me get some clothes so that I could have something to wear when looking for work. It was one step closer to feeling comfortable and adjusting to being back in society. But the help didn't stop there.
With SE Works I was offered classes that taught me about looking for jobs on the internet, how to build a resume, how to conduct myself during an interview. All the things that I had no experience in. SE Works helped me with bus passes for transportation. The day after my last class a friend of mine got me an interview at his work and I used the skills I learned in the classes during my interview. I got the job. And SE Works helped me get the tools that I needed for work. And have worked there since which has been 10 months. I even signed up for the glazier apprenticeship program for my company and am now on the waiting list to be hired and start my schooling.
SE Works helped me with housing assistance at my Oxford House. This assistance gave me the opportunity to save money and I used that money to pay off my traffic tickets. March 15, 2007, I got my license for the first time at the age of 33. I was also able to save money to take my 11 year old daughter school clothes shopping for the first time.
Rekita played a very important role in helping me get where I am today. Although I am confident that I would still be clean, sober and free, I don't believe that I would have gotten as far as I am now if it wasn't for the help of Rekita and SE Works. With every goal I accomplished Rekita was there to congratulate me. Even the people in her office who I had never met before told me how impressed they were.
For the first time ever I am fully employed and my employer is happy with my work. I have a car, license and I'm insured. I have reestablished a relationship with my father and mother. I have a healthy relationship with the woman I love. I am building a relationship with my daughter and am able provide support for her as well as health insurance that she didn't have before. And for the first time I am finally a positive role model for my sister showing her that no matter how bad things have gotten in the past, there is hope. I am clean and sober and have never felt more confident or positive about my future. I believe in myself today, and so does my family. And I owe a lot to SE Works, my Parole Officer John Powell, and to you, the people who helped SE Works exist. These people helped me in ways I didn't think was possible.
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