Meet Debrisha Guinot
Debrisha Guinot, a graduate of the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts, is a 22 year old, single mother of two children who was finding it difficult to maintain employment and stable housing. For a short time, she was employed as a warehouse worker, but knew that this was not the job for her. She looked into Job Corps, but the lengthy waiting list for childcare made it impossible to start. In early 2017, her father saw a flyer for OIC's IMPACT program. He gave her the flyer and told her she needed to call, so she did.
In February 2017, Debrisha started IMPACT eager to get her life back on track. She was a model student: present, punctual, engaged, cooperative, pleasant and motivated. Debrisha was offered the opportunity to complete the program with an internship at Jerome Home, an assisted and independent living facility in New Britain. Her job, Neighborhood Concierge, included various clerical duties including receptionist.
Debrisha's supervisor at Jerome Home was very impressed with Debrisha's professionalism, ability to learn new tasks and eagerness to do a good job. During her internship at Jerome Home, Debrisha was asked to help out in various departments within the facility. In a short time, she earned a reputation for the quality and quantity of her work. Several department supervisors wanted to hire her for their own departments. Meanwhile, Debrisha found that her experience in the IMPACT program and at Jerome Home had changed her life. She loved her work at the Jerome Home especially her daily interactions with the residents. She decided that she wanted a career working with the elderly population.
Upon completion of her internship, Debrisha was offered and accepted a permanent job with Jerome Home and she enrolled in Tunxis Community College's Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) certification program. Her short-term plan is to transition into a CNA position at Jerome Home. Debrisha's long term plan is to open her own business that provides 24 hour adult day care services.
When Debrisha was asked how the IMPACT program has helped her, she replied, "A lot! It was the biggest stress reliever. It took an expense off my plate. Trying to pay for school with 2 kids while unemployed was impossible. It opened a lot of doors, it got me a job and now I can support my kids and have a career." Her advice for other individuals her age who are in a similar situation is, "Don't give up hope. That's where I was - am I going to be able to provide for my kids? Do I have to rely on the state or other people to take care of my kids? But then it happens and you have hope again."
The IMPACT program is an OIC program funded through Capital Workforce Partners with Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) funds intended to serve eligible out-of-school youth ages 18 to 24. It provides high-quality services that lead to success in employment, post-secondary education and careers. The program will offer youth career exploration and guidance, education and tutoring to increase basic skills for educational attainment, occupational skills training in in-demand industries and occupations, and paid internships. Services will culminate with a middle-skill job along a career pathway, enrollment in post-secondary education, or a registered apprenticeship.