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June 4, 2021

After losing her job as a protective service worker, Diana Lopez, became a member of the North County Career Centers, where she sought out training and found more resources than she expected. Read on as Diana tells in her own words how the career center workshops and services helped her land a new job. 

I grew up in foster care since I was eight years old and attended San Pasqual Academy, a first-in-the-nation high school group home for foster youth.  After high school, I attended and graduated from CSU Stanislaus with a criminal justice degree to be able to work with foster youth especially with younger children and teens.  

D. Lopez

After graduation, I started a job as a protective service worker. However, after six months I didn’t pass the probation period and was let go. I felt like I failed .

I took some time off to travel and think about what I wanted to do. It was a challenge accepting that I had not failed as a worker.  I wanted to give myself another chance to prove I can work in the field and knew I needed more training to succeed. 

I heard about the career center from the Unemployment Office and began exploring the resources. I used the workshops to get the position I am in right now. By attending most, if not all, of the available workshops—Resume Strategies, Cover letters and Thank You Letters, Skills and Accomplishments, Getting LinkedIn and Your Personal Commercial—I noticed my favorite ones were taught by workshop facilitator Kristi Zimsky. 

Specifically, a great workshop to attend is What to Say During Job Interviews. Kristi  got to the point of what was important when doing an interview, I learned strategies to sell my strengths and she made sure we talked about the elements relevant to the job. I scheduled a resume review session and mock interviews to get further assistance. I felt like I needed to build up my confidence more than anything. I cannot thank her enough for her advice during our one-on-one sessions. They paid off! 

Thanks to Kristi’s advice on my resume, interview, cover letter and thank you letter I was offered employment in November. It was a four-month hiring process but my interviews went great! There were three days of interviews and then they offered me the position.  

I am now a social worker at the Polinsky Children’s Center where I conduct supervised visits between children of all ages who were removed from homes and family members, and I’m about to reach my 6-month review. My professional goals are to move up and work as a protective services worker in the extended foster care unit. The foster care system has provided many new benefits that it didn’t for other generations but it still needs a long way to go. I want to start a parenting class for foster youth before they have children. I want to use the experience and training that I learn here to become a great foster mom. 

My advice for other job seekers is to attend all of the classes the Workforce Partnership offers and ask for help. Treat being unemployed as its own employment. If you take at least four hours a day at the career center attending the trainings and working on your paperwork (resumes, cover letters and thank you letters) you will soon have a job.  

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