These early pilots have already proved to have a positive impact — especially on the lives of Campbell, Vigil and Jean.
When is job hunt continued to come up dry, Campbell, the machinist, reached out to the Urban League of Broward County, one of the community-based organizations that received pilot funding through the Anchor Alliance. They helped him rewrite his resume, develop a personal story to help him pitch himself to potential employers, and even staged mock interviews with him. It was a matter of weeks before he landed a job as a part-time park aide at Quiet Waters Park in Deerfield Beach. Then, two more jobs came his way. Now, he balances them all and says “it’s a really good feeling to be working again and to be able to help my family.”
Vigil, the young mom, spent much of pandemic unable to find steady work, instead cleaning houses now and then in order to make ends meet. In September of 2021, the workforce development pilot operated by another Anchor Alliance partner, Miami-Dade County Public Schools, matched her with a job as a part-time custodian at Broadmoor Elementary School. Relieved to have a regular paycheck, Vigil now works mornings at Broadmoor so she can pick up her daughters from school. She’s also enrolled in classes to get her substitute teaching certificate “because I see the opportunity this has given me. I want to take it and I want to give back.”
And Jean, the t-shirt entrepreneur, has done the seemingly impossible: in the midst of the pandemic, she actually expanded her business. Through a small business incubator at Florida International University, also one of the Anchor Alliance’s programs, she learned new online marketing techniques, was encouraged to grow her product line, and connected to clients and opportunities. The program also helped her apply for and receive a small business loan that allowed her weather the economic storm and, most important, got her ready to take on even bigger accounts. “They opened my eyes, and it has been a transformation,” Jean said. “They made me look at my business in a different way and because of that I am ready for what’s next.”
Words by Betty Cortina-Weiss | Photography by Felipe Cuevas