Fabiola (Faby) Gonzalez used to work in construction. The physical nature of the work was a challenge and working outside in the heat and cold wasn’t ideal, but she was grateful to be employed. It allowed her to be independent and care for her 11-year-old son.
But her employer didn’t provide any paid time off, and when Faby became ill and couldn’t work, she lost her job. She was forced to go on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) to support herself and her son.
Overnight her income dropped to under $400 a month, and Faby wasn’t sure how she would manage. She couldn’t pay rent; she couldn’t afford to fix her car or renew the registration; and her unpaid utility bills were starting to pile up.
“It was so stressful,” Faby said. “I didn’t have a place to live, money problems were mounting left and right, and it was just one crisis after another.”
Faby was referred to Mi Casa’s Customer Service career training program by her TANF case worker. She wasn’t sure what to expect. She just knew she needed a job and hoped she could find one that offered benefits and a greater measure of financial security.
“I didn’t know what to expect when I arrived at Mi Casa. But I definitely didn’t expect the class to be as intense as it was. Every day was packed with really good information,” said Faby.
“It was an interesting personal journey for me and all of my classmates. Mi Casa helped us realize that we are all a lot stronger and more capable than we thought we were.”
At Mi Casa, Faby received intensive customer service training, including conflict resolution, relationship management, dealing with angry customers, and more. She also worked with a career coach to focus her job search and identify employment opportunities and met with a financial coach to learn how to create a budget and a savings plan.
Through Mi Casa’s employer partnerships and networking events, Faby connected with a recruiter from Verizon. Fast forward seven months and Faby is happily employed as a bilingual retail sales rep at a busy Verizon store in Aurora.
Her employer offers tuition reimbursement – as well as health insurance and paid time off – and Faby plans to take advantage of the benefit to study marketing or human resources.
“I love my job,” Faby said. “And Mi Casa gave me both the self-confidence and professional tools I needed to be successful.”