Workforce Success Story Submitted By:
Philadelphia Workforce Investment Board
Donna Lankin found herself with her back against the wall earlier this year. The 49-year-old Philadelphia resident was without a job, had empty bank accounts and was wondering where the next meals would come from for her 12-year-old daughter and herself. For the first time in her life, Lankin applied for welfare, mindful of her mother’s advice that there was no shame in seeking help.
Lankin soon found herself in one of Philadelphia’s EARN Centers, which are designed for those receiving public assistance to make themselves more marketable in the job force. Within five days, she learned how to use a computer, got her first e-mail address and wrote a resume. And that’s where Lankin learned about Way to Work Philadelphia!, the initiative funded by the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The initiative provided wage reimbursement that enabled local employers to hire adult employees and dramatically expanded paid internship opportunities for young people.
Outcomes & Benefits
One of those companies taking advantage of Way to Work Philadelphia! was Klean Streak, a Feasterville-based cleaning company that hired several people through the initiative. Four months ago, Lankin became one of the company’s new employees. “They treated me with kindness and respect,” Lankin said. “Now I’m doing million-dollar homes.” Lankin’s done so well that she’s secured permanent employment with Klean Streak. In fact, she now leads a cleaning crew and has trained several of her fellow workers in recent weeks. That leadership role has been a new experience for her. Lankin thanked her employers, the Way to Work initiative and the people who helped her at the EARN Center for turning around her life.” They made me feel like a person again,” she continued. “I didn’t know how much help was out there.”