Lorena Benitez was out of work for about five months and had exhausted her unemployment benefits, turning her job search into a desperate day-to-day hardship. The indefatigable job-seeker was in dire need of assistance, so she went to all the job-service agencies she thought could help. There were always issues. Some of these agencies required the prospective client to be at zero income to qualify for employment services. Other job services required every client to go through a lengthy process to finally garner the assistance of an employment specialist. When you are unemployed, you need immediate help, so those agencies were not practical.
Frustrated and tired, Lorena lost hope. Applying for online positions was not reaping benefits, plus what she deemed “survival” jobs never even called back to set up an interview.
Lorena believed she had exhausted all possible resources, her job search having run the gamut from employment organizations and recruitment companies to contacting family, friends and former co-workers. All seemed lost.
Things sure changed when Lorena walked through the welcoming doors of MEDA’s Mission neighborhood center, Plaza Adelante. Specifically, the doors of MEDA’s free Workforce Development department, funded by the United States Department of Labor (DOL) and the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). Lorena was considered a WIA DW (Dislocated Worker).
Job Coach Robert Lopez was enlisted to champion Lorena’s cause to find employment. After hearing of the frustrated jobseeker’s travails, Lopez harnessed the power of his connections and expertise to immediately avail Lorena of opportunities in the area.
Lorena’s job search was now invigorated. Interviews finally occurred. Confidence soared.
“Of all the organizations where I registered to get help finding a job, MEDA is the only one that helped me optimize my resume and cover letter, plus assisted me with other services related to employment,” states Lorena. “I received great client service, and even helpful referrals where to get clothes for interviews. MEDA helps with transportation needs of job-seekers, too.”
Lopez explains his strategy: “Since Lorena didn’t have any savings when she came to MEDA, my initial focus was pragmatic, with my needing to find her work of some kind so that she would have some immediate income. Once that was achieved, I shifted my focus to getting Lorena more stable work at a company in San Francisco.”
That stable work has now been found. Fragomen SF, which specializes in helping clients with immigration issues, has hired Lorena. A once seemingly hopeless situation has been turned around, with economic success on the horizon.
Lorena sums it up: “Thanks to Robert for all of his help for our community!”