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Painting a Path to a New Future

In 2010, Koretta Allen and her Children, ages 10 and 6, left California where she was a radio show producer and returned to Columbus to be closer to her mother. Like any other single mother, Koretta only wanted the best for her children. But, with houseing issues and transportation challenges, providing the best proved difficult. To make ends meet, Koretta found herself where she says she had never been before, as an Ohio Works First Participant receiving cash assistance from the Franklin County Department of Job & Family Services. In June, 2012, the county offered her an opportunity to participate in a new program at COWIC. Koretta accepted the invitation and enrolled in the J.O.B.S. (Job Opportunities Build Success) program, a Franklin County and COWIC partnership aimed at helping Ohio Works First recipients to obtain permanent, self-sufficient employment. Through the program, Koretta improved her resume and interview skills and learned how to develop a good household budget. She then launched her job search with help from COWIC's Business Solutions team. "I had to ground myself and make a career shift that was best for me and my family," Koretta said. With her new skills and background in healthcare, Koretta landed a full-time job as a Pharmacy Technician. She has sinced moved on to another position as a Credentialing Specialist with United Healthcare and no longer receives assistance from Franklin County, but she says she is glad it was there to help her when she needed it. She is also grateful for the support of the staff at COWIC. "The J.O.B.S. program was different than any other training I had ever been through because I really felt like my COWIC instructors were my advocates," Koretta said. "My family is stable and I am excited about the future."

It's never to late to have a second chance.

At 60 years old, John Dalton had a felony record and had served 18 months in federal prison on a drug conviction. His age and criminal history made finding a permanent job a major challenge. But, John was determined. In March, 2012, John was selected as one of the 15 restored citizens to participate in the pilot project for Restoration Academy , a rigorous, 6 -month internship program with the City of Columbus. After completing his work readiness training, working on his resume, and preparing for interviews with city managers, John was selected for a laborer position in the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department. John says the six months he spent in Restoration Academy not only gave him a chance to get back on his feet and prove himself, it also helped to restore his self- confidence. John and the rest of the inagural Restoration Academy class graduated on October 5, 2012 and later that month, he was hired on full-time by Columbus Public Utilities. John's supervisors say he was often on the job before they were every morning. That dedication, his positive attitude, and attention to detail helped him to land the job. But, perhaps even more than finally finding permanent work, John found a new sense of self and a renewed outlook on his future. "A person who works hard and has a positive attitude can find success in Restoration Academy," John said. "The program brings credibility to your life and future."

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