Rachal Underwood, 33, is a Home Health Aide at In-Home Services and a full time Nursing student at Downey Adult School. With the assistance from Goodwill through a $1,000 scholarship, Rachal is attending the Vocational Nursing Program at Downey Adult School. Rachal is maintaining a “B” average and will be graduating from nursing school in May 2013 and will be taking her State Boards for her license.
But three years prior, she was uncertain of how things would turn out for her and her family. After relocating back home to Los Angeles from Atlanta in 2010, she was unable to find work within the legal profession. Being a single mother of her two-year-old son, Rachal was willing to try any job.
“Then I was presented with an article about a Certified Nursing Assistant and Home Health Aide training program being offered by Goodwill SOLAC. After doing a little research, I contacted Goodwill’s Employment Services Coordinator to express my interest in the healthcare training program. The very next day my road to success began.”
Goodwill assisted Rachal in finding and retaining competitive employment in many ways. Rachal received work-readiness training that included, resume writing and character building exercises. Additional supported services were available through the Beyond Jobs Program funded by the Walmart Foundation. Some of those were gas cards, Wal-Mart gift cards or clothing vouchers.
“The Beyond Jobs service is phenomenal. It provides single mothers with the tools we need to find work and the skills needed to maintain longevity in the workplace,” said Rachal. “Goodwill hosted an Employer’s Breakfast, where I had a chance to meet with employers and ask questions and possibly interview for employment. I’m excited to say, I was hired by one of the attending employers, and began working two weeks following my completion of the program in April of 2011.”
Since Rachal completed the program at the top of her class, Goodwill hired Rachal to be the Nurse Mentor for the program’s next class. As a mentor, Rachal tutored the new students in the class session lectures and assisted them in improving their bedside nursing skills. She also helped prepare them for the certification testing by coaching them through hands-on skill assessments.
Goodwill Staff in the Healthcare Training program said she was a dedicated student and was an incredible asset to Goodwill SOLAC and the program as participant and later as the student mentor. “As a mentor, she demonstrated outstanding leadership abilities through counseling and assisting new students in the Healthcare Training program,” said Cynthia Barnes, Employment Services Coordinator. “She was a take-charge person who successfully developed plans and implemented them. Through it all, she maintained a sense of grace and optimism in the face of adversity.”
Amongst all the Beyond Jobs recipients’, Rachal was selected to represent the program for Walmart Foundation’s “Live Better” series, which is a collection of more than two dozen 90 second PSA’s featuring people who were helped by the Foundation’s funded programs.
“Being a participant of the Beyond Jobs program at Goodwill has afforded me a lot of opportunities from having my success story interview published in Black Enterprise magazine to being able to help someone else write their own success story as the Nurse Mentor, and for that… I am forever grateful.”