Workforce Success Story Submitted By:
Philadelphia Workforce Investment Board
Regina Dyson, a 40-year-old single mother of three, began each day of her job search with this affirmation: “Guide me to a job that I can be passionate about, with positive and inspiring people, in a location I love, with hours that work for my loved ones and me, and an income that meets or exceeds my needs.” A professional with more than 17 years of experience in the strategic development and non-profit sectors, Dyson previously worked in cities including Atlanta and Washington, D.C. She relocated from North Carolina in August 2009 as the acting director of an elementary school, but was laid off just a few months later. After exhausting her savings, she had no choice but to apply for cash assistance. Dyson enrolled in the Employment Advancement Retention Network in Philadelphia and was referred to the local PA CareerLink and, eventually, the Way to Work program. But with a degree in marketing and communications, she found she was overqualified for most open jobs.
Dyson didn’t hold out much hope when she attended a Philadelphia Workforce Development Corp. job fair in June, but was drawn to the work of one of the organizations there -- the African-American Chamber of Commerce. As luck would have it, she connected with Nicole R. Giles, director of programs and membership. It was a perfect match and -- two weeks after enrolling in Way to Work -- Dyson was hired. As Giles describes her, Dyson was “head and shoulders above the rest of the candidates and a perfect fit for the organization. She has the right skill set and experience, and I honestly don’t think I could have found a better candidate to help us.”
Outcomes & Benefits
At the time, the chamber was struggling to fulfill its mission of helping businesses in a challenging economy, but couldn’t afford the help it desperately needed. The subsidies from Way to Way Philadelphia! allowed the chamber to hire Dyson and her presence has tremendously increased its productivity. Giles believes Dyson’s placement is having a positive ripple effect on the businesses they serve, and the chamber plans to retain her even after the wage subsidy expires. Dyson said someone took a vested interest in helping her at every step of the job search, and she praised local workforce organizations and the City of Philadelphia for connecting her with Way to Work. “I wanted more than just a job to show up to every day,” she said. “So, when I see the affirmation I read during my job search, I know I found just what I was searching for – meaningful work and a wonderful job.”