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York County

Dani started at the Sanford Opportunity Center in late 2019 and has faced several obstacles related to childcare. Both of her children experienced serious mental health concerns, which made it difficult for Dani to attend her scheduled workshops and focus on her job search. When her children were having challenges, Dani kept in touch with the staff, and she was granted Dani Good Cause to help manage her children’s needs. Dani told the team, “I don’t feel like I will ever be able to get a job, not with the way things are now.” Through a hiring event, she was hired to work at the US Census Bureau. Dani describes it as the perfect job for her at this time because she has not worked in many years and it would allow her the flexibility; she needs to take care of her children and set her own schedule.

Cumberland County

Denise moved to Maine from the Midwest in late 2019 to escape a domestic violence situation. When she arrived for her initial orientation at the South Portland Opportunity Center, she told the staff that she was nervous about building a new life. Staff assisted Denise with resources for domestic violence and helped her connect with a counselor. In February, Denise got a job at Maine Health but lost the job after a month because her child could no longer attend daycare. Fedcap staff then referred Denise to a virtual career fair through JobsInME. They also recommended that she investigate UNUM for potential careers since she had customer service experience. Denise applied for a job at UNUM, and she recently reported that she was offered a job.

Oxford County

Liz is part of a two-parent household that has been on TANF for 56 months. In the past, she had cashiering jobs but expressed to staff that she was always interested in caring for people. Staff at the South Paris Opportunity Center were able to help her enroll in a Certified Medical Residential Aide (CMRA) program through Region 9 Adult 8 Education in March and for her to participate remotely during COVID-19. Liz reported that her partner helped her study by making flashcards and quizzing her. She successfully completed the course at the end of April. During this time, she also applied for a housekeeping position at Rumford Hospital and informed them that she was taking the CRMA course. She was hired at the hospital in the housekeeping department but hopes that now that she has her CRMA that she will soon transition to a CRMA position.

Androscoggin County

Mary is married and has two school-aged children. She attended orientation at the Lewiston Opportunity in late fall 2019. During intake, she reported working at Big Lots part-time and indicated that she wanted to volunteer and participate in other job readiness activities. Mary did not follow through with any activities and returned to Fedcap in early 2020. She reported that she had lost her job, and both she and her husband were now receiving recovery and treatment for substance use disorder (SUD). The family then fell out of contact with the staff for another month. Mary then returned on her own and reported death in her family and that her husband had been hospitalized. At that time, Mary started to engage in job search activities and received assistance with transportation, auto insurance, and interview clothing. Her husband was also released from the hospital. Mary interviewed for a position as a Billing Specialist and was hired. She started her new job mid-April working fulltime, making $18.00 per hour with full benefits. Staff contacted Mary recently who expressed that she was thrilled with her new job and that she was “amazed” to get a job during the pandemic.

Knox County

The mother of a young child, Jordan, began with Fedcap in Rockland in 2017. From the beginning, she had challenges with following through on any activities and recently confided to staff that she has been struggling with mental health issues. When asked about future goals, she said she had been accepted to the Aveda Institute of Maine for cosmetology but did not enroll. Staff recommended that she work with her behavioral health provider and they would help her with supports to go to school. After that, Jordan started coming into the Fedcap office regularly and assisting with clerical work, organizing the clothing closet, and helping other participants in the network center. Staff quickly noticed a change in her appearance as she stopped wearing sweatpants and began dressing for success. She told the staff that she had a new plan for managing her mental health issues and she was scheduled to start school at the beginning of April. When the COVID-19 shutdown started, Jordan’s plans for attending school were uncertain and she told staff that she was worried that it would be delayed. Fortunately, she received a new start date for April 27th and that her initial classes would all be completed remotely. Staff checked in with Jordan after her first week and she told them she was “loving it.”

Hancock County

In Ellsworth, staff recently helped Danielle with setting up her Zoom account so she could have “face-to-face” sessions with her mental health counselor. Staff also taught her Zoom basics such as scheduling and starting a meeting and how to share her screen. Danielle reported to staff that she was so “happy” to learn how to use Zoom so she could communicate with her counselor and others in her life without needing to leave her home during COVID-19. They also discussed how using technology will help her in the future with job opportunities. Program-wide, Fedcap has been advocating for all participants to learn Zoom technology as it is becoming a standard manner of communication in both academic and professional environments.