CLEVELAND — Finding work during a pandemic is tough enough. But what happens when you already have barriers, adding an extra layer of difficulty?
OhioGuidestone is working overtime to help young adults rebound and get the training they need.
“I was basically at a breaking point in my life, to where I didn’t know what was my next move,” said Antoine Woods. Like so many people in their early 20s, Woods was lost about what to do next — confused about career choices.
That is, until he found OhioGuidestone.
“They got me so many connections, but one that stuck with me right now, I’m a vegan meal delivery service. I’m a production cook and I like what I do now,” Woods said.
OhioGuidestone is the largest behavioral health services organization in the state.
And for people ages 18 to 24 who meet specific criteria — their services are completely free.
“Individuals who are eligible for our programs are either pregnant, parenting, maybe have been incarcerated at some point, are within a certain income eligibility or no high school diploma,” said Christine Hairston, one of half a dozen career coaches in the workforce training program.
The program runs 10 to 12 weeks and gives young adults the guidance and training they need to get their foot in the door.
“We help them with their resumes, we help them with mock interviews, we even take them to places, as well as mitigate barriers to employment, such as individuals who may have a record and need assistance,” said Hairston.
Transportation is a huge barrier, so in addition to the courses and training, they also give out bus tickets and gas cards.
People in the workforce program are also given the chance to get their high school diploma or GED.
For Woods, the program was a turning point.
By day, he works as a chef and by night — he’s working to build his own carpentry business.
“I just have a different part of myself that i didn’t have when I looked in the mirror. and that’s what this program helped me see. A change, an opportunity.”
Again, the workforce training program is totally free for those ages 18 to 24 and who meet those specific criteria.
You can click here for details on how to sign up.