Two years ago, Taishia Jenerette was captivation bottomward two jobs, caring for her 6-year-old babe and disturbing as a distinct mother with too little time and too abounding bills. Then a acquaintance told her about an abnormal Fairfax Canton affairs that provides low-income distinct parents with career counseling and able affidavit courses — free.
“I would accept never been able to go to academy if not for the Apprenticeship for Independence program,” said Jenerette, 32, who abdicate her part-time job at Macy’s to accomplish time for night classes. “I had looked into it so abounding times, but I didn’t accept the money.”
In a commemoration afresh at the Fairfax Canton Government Center, Jenerette accelerating with a medical abettor affidavit that will advice her authorize for a promotion, and a raise, at the Virginia Department of Rehabilitative Services, area she prepares affliction cases for review. But added important than the certificate, Jenerette said, the affairs has accustomed her confidence.
“I was so afraid to go aback to academy because I didn’t appetite to fail,” said Jenerette, of Centreville. “I said if I can get through this two years, I can do anything.”
That attitude is what Apprenticeship for Independence is meant to engender, said Lorraine Obuchon, one of two career attorneys who assignment with the program’s about 120 participants.
“There’s such a transformation,” Obuchon said of the women — and they are about alone women, admitting distinct fathers may additionally enroll. “They appear absolutely altered people: confident, accomplished in a new career field. They’re basically accessible to booty on the world.”
Distinct parents 18 and earlier who accommodated assets guidelines and are acceptable to assignment in the United States can authorize for the affairs by applying any time of the year, Obuchon said. Once accepted, parents charge participate in a alternation of bristles career development workshops afore they activate demography courses through the Fairfax Canton Public Schools Adult and Community Apprenticeship program. At the workshops, acceptance altercate abode expectations and apprentice account abilities and résumé writing, she said.
The program, which Obuchon said saves acceptance an boilerplate of $1,600 in tuition, was started in 1985 as a federal workforce development affairs and has been paid for back 1998 with grants from the canton and Capital One, amid others. The ambition is to action training for jobs that pay a active allowance in fields such as accounting, desktop publishing and medicine, Obuchon said. Graduates acquire the certificates bare to assignment as a dental assistant, a medical allowance biller or phlebotomist, for example. That’s generally a aboriginal footfall on the way to added education, said Obuchon, pointing to Donna Ponzette as an example.
Ponzette, a 43-year-old mother of three, accelerating from the concrete ysis abettor affairs in 2007 and has connected at Northern Virginia Community College, area she is demography prerequisites for a concrete ysis degree. She additionally works allotment time, volunteers at Mary Washington Hospital and is adorning a apprentice alignment to advice victims of calm violence.
The classes she took “inspired me,” said Ponzette, of Centreville and Fredericksburg. “If I had not gone into the [Education for Independence] program, I may not accept connected and gone on to college.”
Participants additionally accretion a abutment network, Obuchon said.
Khadija Yahyaoui of Springfield, who confused from Morocco six years ago and has a 3-year-old daughter, said she absitively back her alliance bootless to acknowledgment to her dream of acceptable a cardiologist. She aloof accomplished what she said was the aboriginal step, earning a affidavit in medical allowance billing. In class, she met Weris Farah of Alexandria, who cares for her ill ancestor and two boyish daughters.
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