Before taking part in the first Ready2WorkIt Job Program, Carla Sims did not have clothes for a job interview.
The program, started in June by the Chattanooga Housing Authority, not only helped Sims organize a resume and practice how to react in difficult workplace situations, but helped her purchase clothes to give her a more professional appearance.
“That was a great thing for me because before I was like, 'Oh my God, I don't have anything to wear' even when I got interviews,” Sims said.
Since the six-session program, Sims said she has felt more confident when applying for jobs.
Takeyta Young with the CHA said the program is being put on for the second time now, and the third set of sessions will begin in August.
Young worked to help begin the program after finding out that many people relying on the CHA were in need of knowledge on how to maintain a job after obtaining one.
"Dealing with the population within housing authority, we have a lot of low-income families who need these skills, and they need to know we are here to help them get these skills and offer them whatever they need," Young said. "What one person needs may not be what someone else needs, so I try to ensure that we go on a case-by-case basis."
She said she hopes to grow the program each month and reach the needs of the people the CHA serves.
Those who complete the entire program receive a certification at the end and get referrals from instructors when applying for jobs or with staffing agencies.
Those who have completed the program have gone on to get jobs that are much more than minimum wage, Young said.
She listed Volkswagen, Children's Home/Chambliss Shelter and the Department of Human Services as several places where graduates of the program have found work.
Sims said although she is still looking for permanent work, she feels better-equipped to impress a potential employer.
“I already have the drive in me, but it helped guide me and put things in a better order [in a resume] to make me look better,” she said. “It also encouraged me to go back to school and get my GED.”
One of the most important things to remember, Sims said, is that it is never too late to do anything.
“I'm 50 years old,” she said. “I did it.”
To find out further information about the program, contact Takeyta Young at 423-752–4851.