Volume 2, Number 13 - March 27, 2012

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Karla Barrios

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Working Solutions at MDC’s Wolfson Campus Helps The Unemployed

By Karla Barrios

For 52-year-old Olga Holmes, finding a job after her divorce become a nightmare.

Holmes had always depended on her ex-husband’s job for income, and with English not her first language, her job search was made all the more difficult.

However, after taking English classes at MDC, she found the opportunity she needed and joined Working Solutions.

“They taught me how to find a job,” Holmes said. “They taught me how to use a computer, how to write my resume, and they helped me get to job interviews by providing me with a bus pass.”

Working Solutions—the Displaced Homemaker trust fund for Miami-Dade County—helps unemployed applicants who are 35 years old and above develop the skills necessary to reenter the workforce.

The free program teaches its members how to manage their credit, prepare for job interviews, write a resume and improve their English. Students are also able to become familiar with computer programs such as Word, PowerPoint and Excel.

Working Solutions offers a variety of services in English, Spanish and Creole, including: financial counseling, customized training, academic counseling, job referral and placement, and community referrals.

“We want to provide people with the resources in the community. We want to provide practical training and most of all, we want to help people find jobs,” said Linda Scharf, program manager for Working Solutions.

With 250 students currently enrolled, the program provides a window of hope and opportunity for the unemployed lacking the skills necessary to find jobs.

Mirza Galindo, 53, is one such case. She was laid off after 20 years of working for MIC Turbo Fuel Injections.

“When I went out looking for a job I felt like I was trapped in a bubble, in a different world,” Galindo said. “After 20 years of working for the same company, the world around me had moved on, that’s when I realized that I needed to learn new skills before the doors closed on me.”

Older folks who seek help through Working Solutions find themselves discouraged sometimes when they believe employers turn them down because of their age and a lack of computer literacy.

“I am 52 years old. I am not that young anymore, so finding a job becomes more difficult every day,” Galindo said. “But Working Solutions motivates me and gives me hope that there is still a chance for me to succeed.”

Working Solutions, located at MDC’s Wolfson Campus, will continue to bring hope and help to those who need it most around the community, Scharf said.

“The environment and the people at Working Solutions make you feel at home,” Galindo said. “They make you believe that you have the power to succeed.”

Infobox: For more information contact Linda Scharf at (305) 237-7514 or visit http://www.mdc.edu/wolfson/student/workingsolutions/default.asp

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Miami Dade College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate and baccalaureate degrees.
Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Miami Dade College.
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