When Jimmy started his journey with StepUp Wilmington, he knew that he had the opportunity to not only change his life, but the lives of others as well. “I’m in recovery from substance abuse. I went through the Wilmington Treatment Center and they have an alumni organization. One thing they do is provide support for people in recovery, especially once they’re out of the treatment center. I found out about StepUp through those efforts, and we’ve been recommending you all to people,” Jimmy explained, adding that he feels comfortable being transparent about his story.
“I’d reached a stage in my life where it was time to get back on track,” he added. “I’d been out of work for a considerable amount of time, and I immediately thought of StepUp Wilmington. I actually had Kelly, the alumni coordinator, encouraging me and helping me register. I guess I got lucky that I got into the new ARP training program! I’d started a few weeks before that started with my Talent Manager, Alicia, on Zoom, but when the new class started I was able to transition straight to that in-person program.”
Jimmy went into the program with two objectives. “First, my personal goal was to understand how to deal with the big employment gap. The second reason I enrolled is because I’m a North Carolina-certified peer support specialist. I wanted to learn everything I could about the program so I could share my lived experience with the alumni of the Treatment Center and with anyone I meet who has difficulty finding jobs.”
For Jimmy, the two most beneficial parts of the experience were the consistent push to be proactive in his job search and the volunteer engagement. “I already had an interview set up with a company when I started the in-person training. But even with that in the works, I went on ahead and found four other companies and put my resume in with them. One of those four I’m now working for! I was comfortable with waiting to get called back, but because of StepUp’s encouragement, I was able to take charge.”
“Everyone on staff was beyond helpful–absolutely awesome. Alicia has a lot of energy, positivity, and personality! But I don’t want to leave out that the volunteers were amazing people. The lived experience they brought was priceless–especially with the mock interviews. Because I had such a long gap in my job history I was pretty nervous about it. But I was able to use the experience in the two interviews I had for my current job; one on zoom and one in person.”
Shortly after graduating from job training, Jimmy started his new position as a Behavioral Health Specialist with a focus on substance abuse. “To anyone considering StepUp, stop considering it and just go do it. I believe that they’ll do anything and everything within their power to make sure you find adequate employment so you can continue working your skills to find your next step. And with their job division, Beyond Talent, you can walk through the door and they already have a list of companies looking for people to hire. I can’t express it enough; I don’t have the words. It was truly an awesome experience.”
If you or someone you know is struggling to find work because of an employment gap, history of substance abuse, or any reason at all, contact us at StepUp Wilmington and let us support your journey toward starting a new chapter!