R.K. – Submitted By Corina Lopez
To Whom It May Concern,
My name is R.K. and here is my story.
In December ’08, I lost my fiancée due to a fatal car accident and in January ’09, I lost my mom due to ovarian cancer which left me with no family living and through all the expenses I ended up homeless and on the streets of Manhattan in May ’09.
Then in June, I answered a job ad in the New York Daily News at America Works…and met with the incredible caring help from Corina Lopez and Edi Bogdanoivic as they enlisted me for this job.
Their caring and great work for me truly started my life off again and now I’m doing great at the job. I now am off the streets and living in a furnished room and starting my life up again and feeling much better about myself.
Thank you again Corina, Edi, and the staff at America Works. You saved my life and gave me a life again.
Janae Jones – Submitted By Chantelle Ellison
HI Ms.Ellison Janae Jones..I was sent out on an interview for Zaro’s Bread Basket today and i got the job.I start Monday 6AM and i have orientation on friday at 9AM. I wanna thank u and America Works so much.Honestly coming to the office today and getting this new job has opened alot of doors for me now..I can go back to school and i am very grateful for everything…
Honestly when the guy stood up in orientation and started talking i was feeling what he was saying but i said i have to see this for myself.But i never thought on my 1st interview i would get the job.but i did…and I am telling everyone i kno that needs help and is qualified..I wish i would have known about the agency months ago…But again thank u so much.
Lamesha Harper- Submitted By Verisha Moore
My experience at America Works was short, but pleasant. I have always been the kind of individual that wanted to look good and be a good provider for my daughters. America Works has a helpful staff and staff that wants you to succeed. They will push you in the right direction. They want you to so much, they give you metro cards to travel back and forth.
While in America Works, I applied for the New York City Corrections test and I passed with a 85%. I became a member of the NYC Corrections in November 2008. Thanks to Claudius, Verisha, Nicole, and Kinder, I have a twenty year career to provide for myself and my daughters.
Sara Tarver – Submitted By Claudius Caines
My name is Sara Tarver and before joining America Works of New York, I was a struggling individual trying to maintain rent, food, clothing and other necessities just to get by for another day, while still praying for a job.
America Works of New York taught me the responsibility of keeping a job. Everyday I learned something new which included keeping a positive attitude, being punctual and offering a company more than just my time. After going out on interviews everyday, I landed a job at Rainbow Shops. The representatives at America Works help you maintain your job. They provided me with clothing referrals, carfare and possible bonus checks just for keeping my job!!!! It’s an employment agency that works with you and for you. Thank you America Works of New York.
Vicki Steadman- Submitted By Azania Douglas
I have been on welfare for 15 years on and off. I’m a single mother with 3 children. I attended America Works more than once in the past and I wasn’t the best participant. I was impatient and negative at times, but I did listen to what was being taught. In 2006 America Works assisted me in getting employment with Gourmet Boutique as a food services worker. I’ve been with Gourmet Boutique for 2 years now. I am grateful to America Works because I now realize the importance of self sufficiency and the rewards of being responsible. I can provide for my children, not only their needs but also their wants. I pay my own rent, have a bank account and I’m saving money. I continue to visit America Works, keeping them up to date with my progress and also utilizing their services as needed. America Works gave me the push I needed and encouraged me that change is possible.
Mark Washington- Submitted By Ruthy Slomowits & Carlyle Outten
My name is Mark,I was an unemployed veteran who was referred to America Works for employment. My experience with America Works has been wonderful,their staff is professional and courteous. The first day they found me several interviews within minutes. Thanks to America Works I have full-time employment with union benefits.
Thank you Ruthy and Carlyle at America Works for your patients and dedication, for finding me steady employment.
An Employed Veteran
Ramon Ortiz- Submitted By Courteny Hall & Deanna McKay
Ramon Ortiz first came to America Works in early January. Initially, he was hesitant to participate in classroom activities and was combative with staff. Mr. Ortiz was frustrated from dealing with public assistance bureaucracy, and anxious about obtaining employment quickly in such a bad economy. As staff began to assist Mr. Ortiz with his resume and cover letters he began to warm up to the America Works process. We were able to further assist Mr. Ortiz by placing him into the Cornell Weill motivational groups. Mr. Ortiz greatly benefited from working with Massiah and began to intensify his job search and seek out staff assistance whenever he needed it. As Mr. Ortiz began to be sent on multiple interviews, by sales staff, Chris was able to further assist him in obtaining additional interview attire for these appointments. Between the new suits, the upcoming interviews and the motivational groups Mr. Ortiz was able to focus solely on his job search. Since Mr. Ortiz was a 12 year veteran of the Marine Corps he was also assisted by Ruthie and Carlyle who sent him on 4 different interviews. While waiting to hear the outcome of one of these interviews he finally received his clearance documentation from the US Department of Defense and upon receipt of these documents was able to secure at $95,000 a year job with the Department of Homeland Security as a pilot.
Mr. Ortiz informed AW staff that during one of this training flights he flew directly over the 228 East 45th Street building and wished that staff would know that he was “up there.” Mr. Ortiz has promised that once he completes his training he will come to America Works, in uniform, and speak to current clients to help motivate and share his experiences with them. The Department of Homeland Security also is securing new housing for Mr. Ortiz that will be located at a secure location, and shall provide him with continuing training to ensure he is kept up to date on Homeland Security policies and procedures. At the beginning of April, Mr. Ortiz will have been employed with the Department of Homeland Security for a full month.
Damion Bencebi- Submitted By Ruthy Slomowits, Matthew Silverstein & Carlyle Outten
When i lost my job in Florida, and was forced to move to New York i was crushed. Due to the economic crisis that the country is going through, i was left with two choices, Homelessness or move in with my mother in Brooklyn. Needless to say, my mother was there for me and provided me with a roof over my head, even though she couldn’t financially afford it. I spent the first couple of months sending out my resume online, and i also checked with the neighboring corner stores and establishments seeking work, but with no luck. I didn’t have the money for bus fare, so traveling long distances looking for work was out of the question. In a household that is always stressed, the stress in the household only got worse.
My mothers husband didn’t like the fact that now there was another mouth to feed in the house, but no additional money to compensate for it. The arguing between them both in regards to how much i eat, the living room couch where slept, and my unemployment was constant. I figured id better get help soon, before the situation got worse, i opted to look to the state for help. I applied for food stamps, and in as little as a week i had my EBT card, and was able to at least feed myself. It was little after that i managed to actually land a job, Universal Survey Center was a minimum wage, part time job, that only offered me close to 3 hours a day. Because of the living conditions, and the unneeded stress on my mothers already failing health, i chose to leave her home and move in with an old friend best friend in Yonkers. Although working in Brooklyn and living in Yonkers didn’t change my financial situation much.
Now that i would have a $200 rent, instead of living rent free at my mothers, and i made close $400 a month combined with a $100 tab for bus fare and whatever it cost for my laundry, hygiene, and any other toiletries i couldn’t buy with food stamps. I basically had no money, and was forced to survive on food stamps, and sometimes the charity of my friend when i couldn’t afford to do laundry or buy shaving cream. I never stopped telling myself, things have to get better, I’ve never been in such a hopeless situation before, but i knew i had to keep trying to get my life back. I was still looking for full time work while i worked at Universal Survey Center, and at times i thought i landed a job. I applied to Shop Rite, Gamestop, Target, and a number of other establishments. It was always the same, they are fully staffed or aren’t hiring at the moment. It was one day while at work a co-worker brought America Works to my attention, she said they help people who are currently on food stamps get back on their feet. I immediately took interest, i figured i tried everything else i need to try this, even if like everyone else they inform me there is no work available.
Well i think it was the very next Monday i visited America Works, I was handed a basic knowledge test, a pen, and told to sit in a classroom to complete the test. I honestly didn’t know what to think, but at least i felt like i was being taken seriously. Next came an employment package or sorts asking me for prior employment, education, interests, and resume info. It was becoming quickly apparent to me that America Works is going to take a genuine interest in trying to help me, but if i was a little uneasy throughout my first half hour or so, the feeling quickly vanished when Chantell Ellison entered the room. She never seemed to stop smiling as she informed the class what America Works is, and how it planned on helping all of us, and answering any questions the class had regarding what was to be expected in the coming weeks. When i sat down with Chantell on a more personal level, she asked me what my thoughts were and what kind of work i was interested in. I informed her that my background is more office oriented than anything else, from data entry to filing to being a Rate Lock Analyst for J.P. Morgan Chase. I immediately expressed my concern to her regarding my dress attire, I didn’t have any work suits or clothes to even go on an interview. Chantell assured me it wouldn’t be a problem, and any clothes i didn’t have, America Works would assist me in getting.
I felt like the world had been lifted off my shoulders, i couldn’t believe this was actually happening. When i expressed my concern that my resume hadn’t been updated in quite awhile, she requested that i email it to her and the next day we would sit down and update it together the best we could. Unbelievable, i couldn’t understand why she was helping me so much, could it possibly be that, it’s just her job to be that nice? Well it became apparent to me a week later while i was walking by her desk and observed her sitting with someone else, and from what it looked like, helping him just as much as she was helping me, and i have to say it brought a smile to my face. Well suffice it to say in the process of updating my resume, it came to Chantell’s attention that i am a veteran, which i didn’t think was all that important at the time, but apparently there is a special program for veterans in America Works. Chantell then introduced me to Carlyle Outten and Ruthy Slomowits, who both would begin working with me, finding out exactly what my qualifications were, any special needs i had, and job placement opportunities.
The three of us spoke at some length regarding my situation, and i answered several inquiries about my previous work and life experiences. I also brought to their attention, my lack of proper work attire, in which i was assured wouldn’t be an issue. Carlyle then brought to my attention a couple of employment opportunities, one was in a medical facility, which my skill set prevented me from accepting. The other however, was to be an Airline Ticket Clerk, which with my customer service experience was a good fit. I still, however, faced the issue of proper work attire, in which Ruthy immediately started to work on. Due to time constraints, we didn’t have much time to get a proper suit for my interview, however Ruthy already had several facilities in which i could contact for work attire. She provided me with a recommendation letter, directions, and bus fare to arrive at the several locations she found. Unfortunately, the hours of operation didn’t coincide with my interview date. I ended up missing my scheduled interview, however through Ruthy’s hard work in finding places that would better accommodate my needs, i ended up with 2 full work suits. Carlyle and Ruthy both assured me not to worry, just to get my hair cut, shave, and arrive bright and early the next day in my suit.
When i arrived the next day, they both seemed pleased with my appearance which made me happy, and informed me that i would be meeting with a few different employment agents. I filled out a quick sign in sheet, and patiently awaited my turn to meet with an employment agent. That’s when i met Kenneth Jacobs, he was very energetic and confident, and immediately insisted that i be the same. He had a sales position available that he felt i would be perfect for, and insisted that i have the attitude that i could “Sell ice to Eskimos”. He set up a phone interview with Yesenia Moreno, at Seccion Amarilla, only minutes later and i found myself with an appointment for a job interview the next day, with John Messina in Seccion Amarilla’s Manhattan office. Long story short, the interview with John Messina went great and you are now looking at a new Inside Sales Account Executive. I’m doing great and improving every day, i actually set up a couple of interviews for our Outside Sales Executives, which seem very promising and hopefully close sometime later on this week. I don’t know how to thank America Works for everything it’s done for me, i feel like a new man. I have a promising career with a company owned by one of the richest men in the world Carlos Slim Helu, a great employer and friend in John Messina, and friendly and awesome co-workers who are constantly helping me refine and hone my skills in sales.
I want to express my thanks to everyone at America Works, and say to all those who are currently on government assistance, and seeking a way to get back on your own feet. America Works gave me every opportunity to change my life for the better, and stood by me the entire time. I made sure i tried just as hard as America Works, and put forth the effort, whether it be traveling to acquire clothing for an interview, making sure I’m presentable to possible employers, or being on time for my appointments. America Works helped me, and it can help you too!
Johnny Louis Mouzon – Submitted By Chantelle Ellison
Dear Dr. Bowes,
I’m writing you this thank you letter about your outgoing “perfectionism” experienced staff.
It began with the warm greeting I received from the very polite receptionist. It gives a person confidence that there will be a better tomorrow.
Unfortunately in my case it turned from bad to worse. I’d lost my place of residence so in the past two weeks I was unable to attend America Works but on the day that I returned I met with Chantelle Ellison, your beautiful, amazing associate corporate representative.
I told her, you may not remember me, and before I could even finish speaking she said, yes I do. Words cannot express my feeling inside, from the bottom of my heart, that such a person I’d only met one day and hadn’t seen in the past two weeks still remembered me. Then I felt relaxed and at home.
So I explained my situation to her. She said, we’re here to help, and made some calls to men’s shelters. And she said, in the meantime what are you going to do? I said I will still attend America Works and job search on my own time.
So Chantelle said, each day before you job search stop by the office. That’s so nice of her. Every day she would ask me, are you stable at your residence? Is there anything else that America Works can do for you? Feel free to let me know. Every time she asked me that question she built up my confidence.
Finally one day she said, I feel that you will find a job today. And that’s what happened. I love my job and staff plus it’s a union job.
All this would not have been possible for me without the help from you, Dr. Bowes, and your “perfectionism” staff. You all are giving me back hope, my future, a job, and my life.
Johnny Louis Mouzon