Maryland

Workforce Success Story Submitted By:
Baltimore Mayor's Office of Employment Development

Meet Sharonda

Workforce Challenge

In 2003, Sharonda was an 18-year-old single mother facing multiple challenges. She had been dropped off role at her high school because of attendance issues, experienced homelessness, and she had a background. She heard about the Youth Opportunity (YO) program for disconnected teens and young adults on TV, and decided to visit the Eastside YO Center. Through YO, Sharonda earned her GED, took advantage of job readiness training, and got job placement assistance.

Workforce Solution

After earning her GED through YO, Sharonda was able to successfully find employment. But, after a few years of work in the retail field, she felt she was at a dead end. “I realized I wanted to go to college,” she explains. Sharonda returned to YO for help with the college application process and, in 2006, she was accepted into Morgan State University and starting working toward a bachelor’s degree in social work. With more assistance from YO, she learned to balance her college courses with part-time employment and the demands of being a single mom.

Outcomes & Benefits

Sharonda graduated from Morgan with an undergraduate degree in social work in 2012 and got a job. She purchased a home for her and her two children, who are 12 and 8, and is now working toward her master’s in social work at University of Maryland, Baltimore. “I’m proud that I’ve been able to provide stability for my family.”Sharonda said, adding, “People expected me to end up a certain way. I wanted to prove them wrong.”

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