Keana’s Career Success Empowers Other Women
Keana came to a Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota Families Achieving Success Together (FAST) program’s peer support group in search of camaraderie. While enrolled in FAST, she was receiving benefits through the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP), which helps low income families with children. She had not been employed for over 10 years.
“When I was assigned to work with Keana, I knew her from the FAST peer support group, but we really got to know each other once we started talking about her goals,” says Nicole Lyons, a GESMN career navigator. “Prior to connecting with us, Keana had not worked since 2008. She had the desire to work, but I wanted her to be comfortable with the environment of interviewing and talking to managers. We practiced a bit and she did amazing!”
“I like to work, I wanted to be a good example for my kids and show them that I could do it,” Keana says.
Keana’s personable nature and can-do attitude landed her a job almost immediately at a local bakery, even during a pandemic and record unemployment in Minnesota.
“Her attitude was always that she could do it, but when she landed the job her self esteem change was noticeable,” says Nicole.
Nicole continued to check in with Keana on her goals and how work was going after her job started. After a while, Keana told Nicole she wanted to find a position closer to home so her public transportation commute would be easier.
Pretty quickly, she found a job she enjoys at a laundromat, which requires her to take only one bus now.
“Ever since then she has continued working and taking care of herself,” says Nicole. “She wants to be an example for the other women who join the program to show them they can become self-sufficient.”
Keana is no longer receiving MFIP assistance, is able to pay her rent and lives on her own.
“I hope my kids are excited for me on this new journey,” says Keana. “I want to show them that I can do this and be on my own.”
Keana’s future plans are to grow in her position and be a leader to new employees. She also wants to serve as an example of self-reliance to other women in the FAST program.
“Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something,” Keana says. “Believe in yourself. I always used to think that I wasn’t able to do something, but now I know that I can.”