Yolanda was working as an assistant at a hair salon and living paycheck-to-paycheck. When she walked into the doors of Humanim, she wasn’t certain what type of job would fit her passions and skill set, but knew she was looking for something more. Her strong will to do more led her to the Baltimore Elite Service Training (B.E.S.T.) Customer Service program offered by Humanim, based in Baltimore, Maryland.
Humanim, a SNAP E&T contractor with Maryland, offers multiple programs to help high-barrier individuals in the local community gain skills, improve employability, and reach economic self-sufficiency. Their programs include individual case management, supportive services, and job development to place and retain individuals with a variety of local employers.
In B.E.S.T, Yolanda was part of a six-week, classroom-based customer service training program that taught soft skills, job search techniques and customer service skills focused primary on a retail/hospitality environment (but transferable to other settings). She earned a professional certification from the National Retail Federation (NRF) Foundation. The certification provided Yolanda with an industry-recognized credential that helps employers distinguish and recognize her as a qualified customer service professional.
Yolanda says that the program created a map for her to get where she wanted to go, helping to push all her previous barriers out of the way. At the completion of B.E.S.T., Yolanda volunteered for two months at the Humanim Vocational Services Day Program, working with disabled individuals from the Baltimore community. This experience afforded her the opportunity to gain new skills and to demonstrate her work ethic and abilities to her supervisors. After the volunteer period, Yolanda was hired on as a full-time Rehabilitation Counselor.
Thinking about her career, Yolanda reflects, “It’s amazing to say it – that I went from being an assistant at a hair salon to a Rehabilitation Counselor!” She is looking forward to continuing on with the Vocational Services Day Center and gaining new skills.