COVID-19 upended all of our daily routines. But through this forced transformation has arisen new ideas and ways of doing things. Here Crystal Gunter, programs specialist at the San Diego Workforce Partnership, discusses the challenges and opportunities she’s experienced in the last few months.
How has your work changed during the pandemic?
The type of work I do hasn’t changed—I oversee WIOA youth programs and the adult ETPL training providers—but how I do my work has drastically changed. Not only have I had to adjust personally, but I have been actively working on policies and procedures to ensure our youth providers and training providers are able to continue to provide services to our young adults and job seekers.
Most of our services that were provided in person were moved to a virtual environment and we worked hard to make that transition smooth, while also following guidance from the state and meeting the requirements of WIOA. We worked with our youth service providers to think outside the box on virtual internships and job shadowing.
Our ETPL Training Providers did an outstanding job adjusting to an online/hybrid training platform. Looking to the future, we want to put strategies in place to allow for more youth and job seekers to access and utilize online services.
Any challenges you’ve had to face or overcome while working from home?
I quite enjoy working from home (or wherever)! I enjoy spending time with my two dogs and cats and sleeping in until 5 minutes before work starts. I also appreciate flexible working hours—I work best in the afternoon and evening. The flexibility allows me to thrive, while also providing me some much-needed mental health breaks. I do miss my desk space and my extra computer screens, as I don’t have space for those in my house. I also miss the office air conditioning and my weekly trips to Panda Express!
Have you picked up any new hobbies?
I have continued my coaching sessions for gymnastics virtually on Zoom. I have also enjoyed a lot of painting and, as an avid collector of Disney pins, I’ve dedicated quite a few weeks to working on custom frames and displays.