She is persistent and determined. Trident United Way and its parnters empower people like Alex to build a better future for themselves and our community. Alex is earnestly seeking the building blocks of a better life.
“I want to be in a career where I serve and fulfill my purpose to contribute to a better world,” says Alex, a soft spoken but determined twenty year old in Berkeley County. Like many young people, Alex is determined to make bold change in her community.
Growing up, her family’s budget was always tight. Armed with an associate’s degree in science from Trident Technical College in April of 2015, Alex applied to a variety of administrative jobs. However, she could not secure employment because she lacked professional experience. Unable to start on a career path to meaningful work and financial stability, Alex did not know where to turn. “I wanted to help my family and I knew I needed to become independent,” she says.
Eight months later, seeking food for herself and her family, Alex found the Berkeley Prosperity Center. With locations in Berkeley and Dorchester counties, the Prosperity Center is a one stop shop for individuals and families who are motivated to increase their financial stability.
Alex applied for SNAP benefits, which provided food assistance for her family and alleviated the immediate stressors that held her back. Alex also enrolled in every employment program with three goals in mind: to build her resume, increase her employability and pursue a stable career that matters. She took initiative. She was persistent. By February of 2016, she earned a WorkKeys certification and landed an internship in the human services field.
“The thing about Alex that stood out is that she had everything, education-wise. She needed more career readiness skills and a really good start for a potential career," says Jessica Galati, a career coach at Palmetto Youth Connections, where Alex was connected with her internship. "That’s where I knew we’d be able to help her, because of the connections that we have with places such as the Prosperity Center and Trident United Way, for her to be able to gain that work experience and utilize it for future employment as well.”
One step at a time, Alex is building herself a better life. Her earnest attitude is evident in her voice when she talks about her internship. “It’s a great start,” she says. “It’s a great opportunity for me. It’s the beginning of the beginning.”
Alex (center) stands with staff representing some of the Berkeley Prosperity Center partners who helped her increase her workforce readiness, including Palmetto Goodwill, Trident Literacy Association, Origin, Palmetto Youth Connections and Trident United Way.