Tanitia Burks is a program specialist working in our healthcare sector to support and advocate for job seekers looking to advance in this industry. We asked Tanitia about her work and how she likes to spend her free time.
What is a typical day like for you?
A typical day usually consists of communicating and coordinating training and supportive services for participants in one of our currently running programs. I also meet and collaborate with community partners and employers that can assist us in serving our program participants. Additionally, I manage the program schedule in regards to planning trainings and workshops for our participants. When we are starting up a new program, I am mostly doing community outreach, participant recruitment and program enrollments.
How has your work changed during the pandemic?
Working with participants remotely has posed both challenges and opportunities. The challenges can come from difficulties navigating technology and the loss of the level of connection you can build with participants when you meet them in person. The opportunities that this virtual experience has created is that participants that face challenges with transportation and childcare have more accessibility to our programs. I also started working with this organization during the pandemic which presented a challenge with learning the ins and outs of my role on my own and having to rely on email and virtual meetings to learn from my colleagues.
If you had $30,000 to donate to a workforce development program, what would you want done with it?
I am biased because I work in healthcare in our sector initiatives department but I would want to put it toward sponsoring more people to receive training and certification within the field of healthcare, whether that’s becoming a medical assistant, LVN, CNA, dental assistant, SUD counselor, etc. Many times, these programs can be expensive and time consuming so to be able to either sponsor the training or provide stipends to participants in these trainings would be great. We are already doing this with our current program but I would love to expand and to be able to offer more.
What professional moment or project are you most proud of?
I am most proud of being a part of getting our Behavioral Health Pathways pilot program off the ground. We had an extremely short turnaround and we were still able to procure training providers and recruit and enroll participants. We also had such an overwhelming interest in the program that we unfortunately could not accommodate every individual that applied to the program. It feels good to know that I was a part of putting something together that is so valuable to so many people in the community.
What do you like best about working in workforce development?
I love the opportunity to be a part of creating opportunities for so many people that come through our programs. While the participants are the ones putting in the work, we are able to provide them the essential tools to build their careers. It is exciting to see the ripple effect when they can secure employment which leads to securing stable housing, access to food, stability for their families and thus, improving their quality of life.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working? Any new hobbies since we started working from home?
I am a cat mom and nerdy cosplayer. Before the pandemic I regularly attended conventions. I live part-time at my happy place, Disneyland. I am also an organizer for a local Harry Potter fan social group and a contributor to a website and podcast that celebrates all things spooky (Halloween vibes) all year long.