Meet Benica

Meet Benica ImageWorkforce Challenge

After she graduated from high school, Benica’s only source of income was as a part-time banquet server with a sporadic weekend schedule. She wanted and needed a full-time position, but wasn’t having any luck finding one. Her friend was a member of the Westside Youth Opportunity (YO) Center for youth who are disconnected from school and workforce. To get help with finding a job, Benica went to YO with her friend one day and enrolled in the program herself.

Workforce Solution

At YO, Benica took a math and reading assessment and started taking advantage of job readiness classes and workshops. She worked closely with an advocate who helped her explore career pathways that fit her personality. “I’m very detail-oriented, and I like figuring out better ways of doing things,” she said, which makes her a good fit for administrative roles. Her advocate referred her for a paid, six-month internship position with the Baltimore City Office of the Labor Commissioner. Benica was selected for the internship and performed so well that the Labor Commissioner’s Office first extended the internship, and then offered her a full-time position.

Outcomes & Benefits

Today, Benica works 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. five days a week in her administrative role with the Labor Commissioner’s Office. After work, she heads to the Community College of Baltimore County, Catonsville, where she attends classes until 10 p.m., working toward an associate’s degree in office management/executive administration. And she still works as a banquet server on the weekends. “I like my job; it’s very challenging,” she says. “No, my life isn’t perfect, but I’ve come a long way.”

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