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July 20, 2015

Keith Jenkins and clientThe following was written by Keith Jenkins, a client who visited the Bank of America Merrill Lynch San Diego Metro Career Center – Downtown Library Satellite. Keith completed multiple tours of duty in the US Navy and was honorably discharged as a combat veteran in 2003.

I was laid off from my federal job in September 2013 due to budget cuts and moved to San Diego to start over in October. Timing wasn’t on my side; I had no success applying for federal work because the government was shut down for over two weeks in October 2013. After the government re-opened, hundreds of vacancy announcements were cancelled.

To learn about my options, I visited the downtown Metro Career Center in February 2014, met with my career agent, Zuri Williams, and began a new journey. We explored different paths ranging from private sector to public sector work and job training. I ultimately decided to go back to school to become a Certified Massage Therapist with the help of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA).

As you can imagine, my budget was extremely limited after being unemployed for so long. I did not want a nine-month or year-long program that cost $9,000 to $18,000 and risk going into debt. Zuri helped me find a state-approved, three-month massage program that cost only $3,500!

I started the program in April 2014, graduated two months later in June, and received my California Massage Therapy Council Massage Practitioner license in August. I opened my own modest private massage therapy practice, called Yup Zup Muscle Therapy and Bodywork. I have had the chance to work with pregnant mothers, people recovering from accidents, soccer and rugby players, arthritic elderly clients and people suffering from scoliosis, osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia.
I can earn a true living wage again, and most importantly, do work I genuinely enjoy that makes a difference! It wouldn’t have been possible if I hadn’t found the downtown Metro Career Center and Zuri!


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