My name is Lenory Short and I am proud to say I received help from the EPIC Program through Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House. Before enrolling, I was lost and needed guidance. Although times were hard, I was determined to turn my life around. After sitting with my Career Navigator, I was informed of all the possibilities EPIC was able to provide for me, it’s safe to say…EPIC SAVED MY LIFE! After creating a resume and building on my soft skills, I was placed in a work experience in a restaurant setting, all the while studying for various certifications. I have now successfully completed work experience, I am a certified food handler, a certified forklift driver and now have full time employment with AmeriCorps, where I plan on utilizing my earnings to continue pursuing my education. People such as Orlando, Alawnna and Mr. Wright played a great role in getting me on the right track, I view them as very important people in my life. Working at the Senior Café during my work experience, placed me in the presence of such spirited people as Ms. Traylor and her staff, who gives daily of themselves to the elderly in the community. I am grateful for having the opportunity to pursue my dreams with the help the EPIC program and Lessie Bates. I now have skills I am able to apply in the workplace and my everyday life.
The Epic Program has drastically impacted my life. After I was enrolled into the program, I cleaned up my life for the better. I am no longer on probation, I successfully completed my work experience, and am currently pursuing my GED at Southwestern Illinois College, while working 30 or more hours per week. With the help of my Career Navigator and Lessie Bate’s social worker, I now have my own 1 bed room apartment after living from house to house for over a year, and am one step closer to gaining custody of my children. I have always known I had to stay focused, not only for myself, but for those who look up to me, but I often found it difficult without support. I will soon test out of the Constitution section of the GED, and I’m well on the way to having my GED in hand. In my opinion, anyone who is seriously looking for an opportunity to better themselves, EPIC is the best program for them. Without the help of Epic, I would not have had an income to begin the process of finding stable employment, I would never have went back to complete my GED and I would never have gained the confidence I now possess when it comes to knowing exactly what I want to do with my future.
After tragically losing his sister in 2016, Charles fell to the lowest point in his life. Knowing that he needed assistance, he reached out to Reverend Carson, who had helped him with increasing his job skills as well as his job search. Rev Carson introduced him to the EPIC program. Then Charles successfully enrolled in the program where he expressed an interest in construction. The EPIC team was able to connect Charles to the Highway Construction Career Training Program at Richland Community College. As of June 15, 2017, Charles graduated the Highway Construction Program at the top of his class and received the student of the month award for June. During his time in the EPIC program and the Highway Construction Program, Charles achieved seven certifications including JLG, Fork Truck, Skid Steer, Back Hoe, Scissor Lift, Crane, and Aerial Lift. Additionally, Charles has certifications in OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), CPR, and first aid training. This is what Charles had to say about his experience: “Everything exceeded my expectations. This is a life changing program where you learn some things that you didn’t know and enhance things that you did. Making you that more applicable to the unions and local employers because this on your resume is so heavy. You start out by going to an orientation, after the orientation you take a placement test to see if you qualify. After the placement test, if you pass, you then set up an interview. After the interview, if you are selected, you go through a drug screening then you start class. The program offered seven different hands on training and certifications with different equipment. The different training's include JLG, Fork Truck, Skid Steer, Backhoe, Scissor Lift, Crane, Ariel Lift. You also get a 10-hour OSHA Card for OSHA Training and CPR and First Aid training as well. It, for sure, is a life changing program. The training, not just the hands on, but the job readiness and life skills is phenomenal. You are taught how to interview, how to build a resume, how to hammer a nail. You are learning hard skills and soft skills both. I would say that you want to apply yourself the best you can. Any job wants a persona that they know has been trained and is trainable, and that what this program gives you. Take advantage of every component this program has to offer. My favorite part about this program was everything, it was just so awesome.” Charles’s goal is to one day own his own contract company. To order to reach this goal, Charles is making the most out of his EPIC training. Charles is currently participating in training to obtain his CDL certificate. After he graduates with his CDL certificate he plans on working for Dunn Company, who has offered him a job opportunity as an independent contractor. Check out Charles Video on the program here: https://fast.wistia.com/embed/iframe/ht8t5e48qc