As one of the multitude of people who lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic Felicia was grateful to learn of AACF’s workforce development programs from her cousin. Felicia joined the program in 2020 and was directed to the Chicago Transit Authority’s (CTA) Second Chance Program by her case manager at AACF. AACF partners with CTA to provide access to living wage jobs for program participants with barriers to employment. Workforce development opportunities provided through the partnership include training, education, mentoring, and networking.
In an interesting twist, prior to joining the CTA Second Chance Program, Felicia was offered the opportunity to work at the front desk at AACF by her case manager, greeting clients, answering calls and questions, and connecting new participants with case managers and programs. With a background in working on cars and big rigs Felicia initially felt unsure of her ability to speak to new clients and assist them with finding job placements and with making the right connections that would help to lift them up in their careers. She worked hard to learn how to best assist incoming clients to AACF’s workforce development programs, learning on the job and helping to bring in record numbers of new program participants.
And after two years of working at the front desk at AACF Felicia found herself excelling in the role and was promoted to case manager. She has been working as a case manager, or career coach, for adults for the past six months, connecting clients with job training, job placements, and paid internships. Much of her training as AACF career coach has been on the job, guided by her own case manager as they work in the office together. Felicia describes working as a case manager as providing her with “a lot of growth and a lot of patience.”
Describing her work Felicia states: “I help clients find job placements, get them off the streets, do anything I can to uplift them. It makes me feel good when I leave here that I tried to help some people today.”
Felicia has referred many people, family, and friends to the workforce development programs at AACF through her own social media and flyers.
“I get to meet new people and we grow to be a family. AACF is like a second home to me. I am always comfortable in it.” - Felicia, AACF Career Coach