Karina Ramirez-Garcia recently celebrated her 29th birthday. On that same day, a letter arrived that contained the best birthday present she has ever received. It was a gift of her own making. The result of her hard work over many months.
The letter informed Karina that she passed her GED exam.
“I was overjoyed when I read it,” Karina said. “I wanted to accomplish something where I would feel proud of myself and have my two little girls feel proud of me, too.”
Karina earned her GED after enrolling in our Adult Learning Lab earlier this year. Her goal now is to continue her education and then become a Child Development Associate. To help achieve this aim, she has begun attending the job club at the Learning Lab. The job club is part of our new Career Pathways program, which is available to adults receiving any service at Southwest Solutions.
“The program is designed to help individuals make good and informed decisions to further their career goals,” said Jeana Harper-Kirkland, Career Pathways Navigator at Southwest Solutions. “We help participants research and apply for jobs that are best for their future. They’ll also learn resume-building, interviewing, computer and other skills to help get the job. In addition, they’ll learn skills to be an exemplary employee and keep the job.”
Jeana recently completed training at a national conference to be certified in Career Pathways. She is one of only three certified Career Pathways Navigators in Michigan. (The Director of Workforce Development at Southwest Solutions, Karyn Goven, is also certified). Our Career Pathways program provides monthly job club meetings, other skill-building workshops, and individual counseling to help with securing employment, benefits, educational opportunities and other resources.
Several students at the job club are taking ESL (English as a Second Language) classes at the Learning Lab.
Ariana worked as a lawyer in Venezuela before coming this year to southwest Detroit, where her sister lives. Although her English is good, she is taking ESL to enhance those skills, and she is attending job club to help her get the position she wants in the legal profession.
ESL-student Fawaz Almaweri worked in the banking industry in Yemen before emigrating. He is currently studying business administration and accounting at Henry Ford College, and he wants to find work that aligns with those career interests.
Angel Cruz, 29, is working on his GED at the Lab. “I came to job club because I want to get a better job than I have now, which is at a fast food restaurant,” Angel said. “I want to get my high school equivalency and go to the police academy. My goal is to become a detective one day.”