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Overcoming the Odds

Workforce Challenge

When they were very young, the mother of the Faulkner* children left the family in the care of their father, who was seriously injured in an accident that required him to have numerous surgeries. These surgeries resulted in his becoming dependent on pain killers and being in and out of hospitals, so the children pretty much raised themselves. Their nearest relatives live in Florida, so they are truly on their own. The two older children are twins and their sister is two years younger.

Workforce Solution

All three children were referred by their school guidance counselor to a WIA youth program operated by a local high school. Through the program, they worked at an outdoor drama production, using the money earned to pay for basic necessities: food and housing. According to their guidance counselor, their work supervisors could not say enough good things about them. "They are reliable, sweet and give us eight hours of work for eight hours of pay," she said. "Their work ethic is phenomenal because they know it is necessary for them to buy heating oil, food and gasoline."

Outcomes & Benefits

Today, all three are performing well educationally. The twins graduated and went on to attend Kent State University. One of them has continued at KSU to pursue a degree in education and is engaged to be married. The other, blind in one eye, transferred back to the local college branch to take care of his father and younger sister. The youngest, now a senior in high school, is having a great season on the tennis team and plans to attend college this fall.

"It gives me chills when I realize how close they came to being homeless and destitute," said their high school guidance counselor. "This WIA program saved their lives and saved another family from getting on public assistance for life. Thank God for WIA funding that allowed us to keep the twins and their sister in a work program that taught them both work ethics and that when people are willing to work there are jobs available."

*fictitious name

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