Mother of three turns her life around with new career in San Bernardino

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.  (January 21, 2014)  Six months ago the future looked bleak for 24-year-old Jeanette Rivali. Jeanette had three children, and was without a job. Today, she is working full-time in the medical field and is going back to school to further her career – all thanks to @LIKE, a no-cost job training program from the County of San Bernardino Workforce Investment Board.

The @LIKE project, Linking Innovation, Knowledge, and Education, was launched in February 2013 and has already enabled and inspired 66 young adults, ages 18 to 24.   @LIKE provides resources and encourages participants  to  improve career and life skills, attend vocational training programs, pursue higher education, and find jobs.

Jeanette was provided with training and placed in an @LIKE paid work experience opportunity at St. Mary’s Medical Center. After completing 125 hours of training, she was hired permanently.  In addition, Jeanette received help with college costs, transportation support, and a work clothing allowance through @LIKE.

Now Jeanette is spreading the word about the project to alert other young adults who are out of work and need help starting a career. “@LIKE is an awesome program. I tell all who want to pursue a brighter future about the program. It helped get my foot in the door to a great career.”

The County of San Bernardino Workforce Investment Board has announced 60 openings for 22 to 24-year-olds in the @LIKE program.

“We are delighted with the program’s success so far and are glad to have the funding for more young people to take part,” said Emily Petrus of the Workforce Investment Board. “It’s a fantastic opportunity to get expert guidance in creating a plan for the future and moving forward with it.”

The @LIKE initiative is funded by a $6 million grant, spread throughout four counties, from the U.S. Department of Labor Workforce Innovation Fund.

Other participants have been trained as a pharmaceutical technician and medical assistant, as well as attending college classes, and earning a GED.

In the case of 23-year-old mother of two, Maurilia Alonso, the @LIKE program helped with obtainment of a high school diploma and assisted her to complete national certifications in customer service and safety. As a result of the program she was hired in a retail store and within a short time was recognized as Employee of the Month. Maurilia is now preparing to study at the College of the Desert for an Associate of Arts degree in Sociology. She plans to become a social worker.

“Many young people often need a little guidance. They haven’t been taught the skills and do not have the confidence to shape a career path on their own. Participants also have the opportunity to achieve a nationally recognized accreditation – the National Career Readiness Certificate – which shows employers they have the right business skills for work and gives them an extra edge when applying for jobs,” adds Emily Petrus.

San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors Chair Janice Rutherford encourages young adults to take advantage of @LIKE. “Let us help you develop the skills you need to enter a career field prepared to succeed,” she said.

Sandy Harmsen, Executive Director of the Workforce Investment Board, believes there are more great success stories to come: “Like Jeanette, many young people face overwhelming obstacles to employment such as the high cost of education, competition from more experienced adults for entry level jobs and lack of awareness regarding career and training options. The @LIKE program addresses all of these issues and is helping more than 100 young adults in our County.”

The @LIKE program is currently seeking youth, ages 22-24, that have not been in school, employed, or in the military for at least 90 days. For more information call (909) 387-9859 or email epetrus@wdd.sbcounty.gov. To apply visit www.atLIKE4U.com

About the Workforce Investment Board of San Bernardino County
The Workforce Investment Board of San Bernardino County (WIB) is comprised of private business representatives and public partners appointed by the County of San Bernardino Board of Supervisors.  The Workforce Investment Board strives to strengthen the skills of the County’s workforce through partnerships with business, education and community-based organizations. The County of San Bernardino Board of Supervisors is committed to providing county resources, which generate jobs and investment.

The Workforce Investment Board, through the County of San Bernardino’s Economic Development Agency and Workforce Development Department, operates the County of San Bernardino’s three America’s Job Centers of California (AJCC). The AJCCs provide individuals with job training, placement and the tools to strengthen their skills to achieve a higher quality of life. The AJCCs also support and provide services to the County’s businesses, including employee recruitment and business retention programs.

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