The Jobs for Veterans State Grant Program’s main initiative is to assist veteran clients with a variety of barriers to assist them in becoming employment ready. The case management for these clients can be quick and short term or extensive as well as long-term. The key to success of the program from the initial stage is trust. Trust is the integral piece to the success of each client whether he/she is entered into case management or not. For Julian Metts, a resident in Meridian, MS it was the trust and constant encouragement he received while a client with the Meridian WIN Job Center. In his own words:
“I am writing to express my deepest gratitude to the two women Mrs. Regina Edmonds and Mrs. Lakisha Davis.
When starting this process, I did not have much faith in the process or even in government institutions to help me out in my situation. Maybe it’s just that I’m getting older and more cynical. I’m not particularly a man that asks for help in the first place. I always figured that my actions had consequences and whatever circumstances I found myself in it was my own fault and I need to just accept that. That the time for choosing was over, now there was only accepting.
Yet, when I needed and asked for help both Mrs. Edmonds and Mrs. Davis were there. Edmonds helping move the process along, seeing to it things were made right, even when I was not right myself. And Davis helping me with encouragement and reminding me constantly that we’re going to be alright; just keep a positive mindset and not give up.
I’m happy to announce that I am gainfully employed, and my cynicism is very much diminished. I hope that whomever this email reaches it is in your power to give the two of them all the raises and praises that they deserve.
Could not have done it without them”.
Mr. Metts visited the Meridian WIN Job Center on August 17, 2022. Although he had some legal challenges in the past, he felt he could turn his life around by enrolling in the CDL course which was started in October 2022. Mrs. Edmonds, the Employment Specialist, assisted him with completing his WIOA packet which, subsequently, was approved. During his conversation with the Disabled Veteran Outreach Program Specialist, Ms. Davis, they both identified his goals for the next 6 months and created a plan on how to accomplish those goals.
Due to the veterans’ background we were finding difficulty getting an interview with most trucking companies. Ms. Davis assisted the veteran in his job search, while he was in CDL training, by contacting various companies and discussing the client’s employment goals. Mr. Metts was being proactive and searching for an employer as well. We both kept meeting the same obstacles when reaching out to potential employers but Ms. Davis was always encouraging him to stay focused and not give up on his goals. As they both agreed, all he needed was one “Yes”.
Mr. Metts graduated from his CDL course on December 9th and after being rejected by many trucking companies he found employment with the Railroad company paying him more than he would have been paid as a first-year driver. This was a happy day for our center because it proved the following:
The program is about more than job placement because motivating and being consistent goes a long way when working with clients
Trust is the foundation of any collaboration. What the staff does is largely based on trust and once a client trusts you they will work the plan with you for achievement of their goals.
We didn’t focus on the “No’s” we received. We focused on the goal, and this kept us both encouraged.
Respect goes a long way. There’s no way Mr. Metts would have trusted us if we had not shown him respect and dedication to seeing him succeed. We didn’t just talk the language we backed it up with action.
For Ms. Davis this is a true success story. The job search and resumes are the easy part. The tough part is convincing a veteran to trust you, the agency, and the outcome we hope to accomplish. It’s our responsibility to focus completely on the person in front of us, be understanding to his/her perspective, not allow the external environment to affect what we do in the center on a daily basis and, in the end, shift an individual’s mindset about what we do by having a positive outcome.