Jolene Mehring was a single mother without a GED in need of a job who came to Albuquerque, NM from AZ to help take care of her aging grandmother.
Without a GED or degree, a new challenge and opportunity presented itself after being unemployed for 4 years. She began working with a variety of programs within New Mexico’s Human Services Department to get back on her feet.
Soon, Jolene was fully engaged with GED classes and an internship, but she knew she was ready to challenge herself more. Jolene received a new internship with the Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce (AHCC) through SL Start. Both the AHCC and SL Start are collaborating with TalentABQ to connect employers and job seekers across Albuquerque to both education and employment opportunities through the common language of skills, utilizing skills based assessments as an additional avenue to employment.
The AHCC team and its President & CEO, Alex Romero, are always looking for ways to give back to the community by opening their doors to interns looking for new paths to better themselves during challenging times in their life. Once Jolene witnessed the AHCC’s work culture first hand, she knew she wanted to stay. But, there were some changes she needed to make first.
Jolene began her internship with pink hair and facial piercings, not your “typical” professional appearance. She immediately stepped up to the challenge and demonstrated her initiative with a new professionalism and positive customer service skills in place. Romero noticed it right away, and realized Jolene had a lot of initiative, but she still lacked the GED.
Skills to Jobs Works
After a month of her internship with the AHCC, a receptionist job opened. But, in order to apply they asked her to take skills assessments in lieu of the GED requirement. Her scores were extremely high and validated to staff that she had the skills to perform well in the job, so they took the leap and hired her.
According to Jolene, her skills assessments scores opened up her mind about what she was capable of and how smart she really was. Jolene continues to thrive at the AHCC and look for new ways to grow while taking GED classes in the evening and caring for her son. According to AHCC President & CEO Alex Romero, “I remember the person who gave me my first job opportunity. I had just gone through 18 interviews and still had no job. I then met my future boss who knew there was something about me, so he gave me a chance. Because of that opportunity I chose to give back for the rest of my life.”
Jolene is just one of those individuals out of many that have received an opportunity that turned into a job due to perseverance and skills based hiring.