Taria Thompson: BEST CHANCE PROGRAM
Taria came to the BEST Chance Program in October of 2016, after being released from incarceration and living in a homeless shelter. The BEST Chance Program provides Integrated Basic Education Skills Training (IBEST) and job placement assistance for former offenders in construction, culinary arts or advanced manufacturing-related careers. The program includes training, work experience, and support services. Upon joining the program, Taria shared with her advisor that she had lost custody of her children due to her incarceration and she was ready to get her life back to reunite her family.
During orientation, Taria developed a strong interest in the manufacturing industry and decided to pursue a career pathway because of the growth opportunities available to her in the industry. She completed her 40-hour credential program not out of necessity, but to make herself more marketable as she entered the job market. Taria also capitalized on several community resources, such as the Dress for Success Program. In January 2017, Taria entered the Pre-Manufacturing training program at Manchester Community College and successfully completed her training. By May of the same year, she secured a paid apprenticeship/internship with ACMT/AdChem Manufacturing Company (ACMT). Upon completing her 8-week paid apprenticeship/internship, ACMT offered Taria full-time employment as an Inspector. She attended and passed additional certification classes through the BEST Chance Program, and maintained full-time employment, all while working towards obtaining adequate housing for herself and her family.
Throughout training, Taria received continuous praise and support from staff at BEST Chance, Manchester Community College, and her peers. Taria earned a promotion to Lead Inspector in December 2017, less than six months after she was hired. Throughout her time with the BEST Chance program, Taria has turned every trial into triumph; her determination and dedication to the program and most importantly to herself, has allowed her to make great strides in her life. Despite her busy schedule, Taria continues to advocate on the behalf of BEST Chance. Earlier this year she addressed state legislators at a Criminal Justice Policy Advisory Commission (CJPAC) meeting addressing the lack of services offered to citizens returning from incarceration and the difficulties they encounter both in the workplace and within our local communities. As a member of the BEST Chance Alumni Group, Taria is always ready to speak up in support of the programs that have helped her reach success, as well as speaking with participants who struggle to stay focused as they reintegrate themselves into the community.
Taria is currently preparing to purchase her first home and continue to strengthen the relationships between her children and herself, all of whom she has been able to reconnect with. This past June she attended her daughter’s high school graduation, which was one of the most emotional yet proud moments of her life.