Fostering Resiliency Inside a Pandemic

With the support of USI, Ms. Gilford was able to complete her education, receive her state certification and spearhead her career change.

After working for Baltimore Public Schools for a few years, Ms. Gilford found herself laid off from her job amid a global pandemic. Unfortunately, this is a familiar story for most working people during 2020, when the COVID-19 crisis hit a critical turning point as most major businesses closed temporarily to stop the spread of the virus.

However, despite her circumstances, Ms. Gilford rolled with the punches and used her time away from work to assist her children in getting acclimated to virtual schooling.

Ready For Work

Despite Ms. Gilford’s motivation and positive outlook, she still needed assistance with finding a new source of sustainable income. Already enrolled in USI’s Family Support Services, Ms. Gilford reached out to the USI Baltimore Family Support Specialist Linda Ullah.

Working with Linda and using her circumstances as an opportunity, Ms. Gilford decided it was time to make a career change. She decided she wanted to pursue the health field. Linda and Ms. Gilford discussed CNA programs offered by various USI Baltimore partners to move Ms. Gilford toward her career change.

Partners Answer the Call for Better Opportunities

Linda made the call to our partners John Hopkins, It Works, and Caroline Center, for more information on their CNA programs to send to Ms. Gilford. After reviewing her options, Ms. Gilford decided that Caroline Center’s program was right for her.

Caroline Center is an education and workforce development center specializing in the healthcare field. They provide holistic and effective career skill training programs for women who may not have had the opportunity. Caroline Center while celebrating 25 years of its commitment to women and work in 2021is accredited by the Maryland Higher Education Commission, the Maryland Board of Nursing, and the Maryland Board of Pharmacy.

Graduating into Employment

Ms. Gilford contacted Caroline Center in November 2020 and began classes right away in December. She completed the program in March 2021 and began looking for employment right away. In May, Ms. Gilford received a job offer from a local hospital and in that month, Ms. Gilford’s self-resiliency came in handy as she promptly took care of all her necessary pre-employment requests before her June paid orientation date began. As a CNA, Ms. Gilford has a more consistent full-time schedule and a higher income than her original job.

Using Resiliency to Move Forward

Despite Ms. Gilford’s usual bubbly and positive outlook, the pandemic, unemployment, and new childcare circumstances were weighing her down. But with Linda’s guidance and support, Ms. Gilford was able to feel the excitement of completing her education, getting her state certification, and spearheading her career change. She was also eating healthier and getting her body ready to tackle the demands of the new position.

“Situations happen that you may not have control over, but if you keep being positive and motivated, the situation you thought was bad may be a blessing in disguise. Just stay focused on being a positive contributor to society and your life. Speak positive energy into your life because your words have power. Welcome, change because the outcome doesn’t have to be a bad situation.” – Linda Ullah, USI Baltimore Family Support Specialist.

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