Job training in action: How patience builds confidence

“At my last job, I was fired because I wasn’t learning new skills fast enough. That experience destroyed my confidence.”

After realizing her body was no longer capable of handling the stress of manual labor, Jaime Hensley wanted to transition to office work. Her new career would require her to learn skills such as data entry, telephone support, Microsoft Office Suite of tools, G Suite, Google’s brand of tools and software. To aid in skill building for her new career, Jaime took part in the Opportunity Council’s Work First Employment Program. She was placed as an administrative trainee with us and received training in a variety of tasks and skills for six months.

“I believed that I couldn’t learn new skills, that I wasn’t valuable, and that I wouldn’t be able to get another job. Being a trainee at The RE Store has changed all of that. My confidence is higher than it has ever been in my life,” Hensley said.

Part of Jaime’s workload included answering customer questions on the phone, performing research and data entry, and maintaining the store’s stockpile of in-house printed forms and slips. While this was her first real experience of working in an office setting, she grew more confident in her ability to learn and perform the needed tasks. “I like that I can work at my own pace, it’s the biggest reason for why I’ve become so much more confident. I’m taking an Excel class at Goodwill and the other day I taught a classmate how to do something, and he told me that I was too advanced for the class. That felt really great.”

Working one-on-one with our staff is a huge benefit for many trainees. “There’s a different sort of community here at The RE Store,” said Hensley. “People are so helpful. When customers call on the phone with questions I don’t have the answers to, I know there’s always someone who will share their knowledge.”

The goal of The RE Store’s job trainee program is to provide accessible job training opportunities to people from all walks of life. During their stint as a trainee, participants earn a living wage and are given the opportunity to learn new skills in a safe, judgement-free environment.  

“When I started, my self-confidence was at an all-time low. It’s now higher than it’s ever been in my life,” said Hensley.  “My time as trainee has allowed me to discover that I’m a visual learner. I’m good at watching someone and copying what they do. Now that I know how I learn, I’m confident I can learn on the job. The patience of the people at The RE Store has allowed me turn mistakes into learning opportunities.”

When asked if she has advice for other people struggling with employment, Hensley offered this: “You will fall, but you’ll get better each time. And each time you’ll get up faster.”