What is it like for a Work Options for Women student on her first day of training? What about after her second week? In “View from a Student” we’ll take a look at WOW training from the perspective of the women and men enrolled in the program.
Two weeks have passed since Charlotte* first started at Work Options for Women.
On Day 10, even how she sits during her interview has changed. Charlotte has an air of confidence and certainty about her and she’s excited to talk about the skills she has learned in the kitchen.
“I like to learn the new stuff,” she said. “I like the sense of urgency.”
She knows what the end game is: to obtain permanent and gainful employment in the food service industry.
“I’ve gotten so many skills in the kitchen,” she said, listing off the differences between Day 1 and Day 10 at WOW. “I’m getting better, my skills are improving. My attitude is better, especially with the classes we have and our group therapy sessions.
“I had a bad attitude before. I can accept constructive criticism better.”
Charlotte, who had worked in food service but has been unemployed for three months, is glad she focused and stayed tough during her first week at WOW. That’s when students spend time in the dish pit, washing anything that comes through their window and needs cleaning in the kitchen. It’s a hot, wet, grueling, fast-paced environment.
Charlotte, however, knew what lay on the other side. She knew she had to work her way up.
“I understand why you have to start in the dish pit,” she said. “They’re getting you ready for the quote ‘real world.’ They’re trying to get us jobs and skills. They’re going to be our reference if we worked hard. They’ll tell the truth: ‘She’s good, she learned a lot, she grew a lot.’”
All phrases Charlotte is working hard to ensure her chef instructors and case managers can say about her.
Although she initially was concerned her children may have a difficult time adjusting to mom’s new schedule, Charlotte said that is not the case at all. She said they love day care and the after-school program they attend.
For her fellow students who are just starting out, or for anyone interested in joining the program or supporting it, Charlotte had just a few words to say about WOW.
“You need to tough it out,” she said. “Take it day by day. Think about the end. You’ll be in a job.”
Exactly where Charlotte has her sights set.
Want to apply to become a WOW student? For more information about the program or for information about eligibility, call 720-944-3393 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
*This name has been changed.