Starting over is never easy, and it wasn’t an ideal situation for Joanna Davidson when in November 2015 she moved back to her hometown in Perry County.
The local economy was still in the midst of a steep decline in employment, but Davidson says she knew what she was moving back to and had the best game plan she could have when she finally unpacked her bags.
“I moved back and I didn’t have a job, so, of course, the first thing I think of is the unemployment office,” she explains as she sits in an office at the Teleworks USA Hazard Teleworks Hub, unpacking her things for the day.
“I spent two days on the computer out front, putting in applications, going store to store putting in applications and got nothing, absolutely nothing,” Davidson says, shaking her head.
After a few days of tireless work trying to find any kind of a lead on a job, Davidson said she was able to sit down with a career advisor who realized, based on her work history of more than five years in customer service, that she would be a perfect fit for Teleworks USA—something Davidson hadn’t even heard of.
An initiative of the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program, Inc. (EKCEP), Teleworks USA identifies and develops legitimate remote-work, distance learning opportunities, and helps people prepare for and land these jobs through its website, teleworks.com. Teleworks USA also operates hubs in Annville, Beattyville, Booneville, Harlan, Hazard, and Pike County that offer workspace and workshop learning opportunities for teleworkers who may not have access to suitable internet speeds or computer equipment at home.
Though Davidson had ample experience in the customer service field, she decided to take the Teleworks USA digital literacy and customer service workshops as a kind of refresher.
“I think those are very beneficial, absolutely. And not just in the job, they’ll help you in your regular life, too,” she says.
As she was completing the workshops, Davidson began applying for job opportunities through the Teleworks USA website.
“I started applying for stuff in November, of course, it wasn’t the best time to start applying for things. No one was really hiring for anything, but I moved back here so that I could start over, so that I could start a new life for me, on my own, without depending on anybody,” she says.
That determination kept Davidson’s head in the game as she continued to search for job openings into the New Year.
“About mid-February it was getting kind of rough. The emergency funds were getting low, and I didn’t know whether or not I was going to find something,” she remembers, her brow furrowing. “I was scared I was going to lose the car and then I wouldn’t have any way to do anything.”
Just when she thought her time would run out, Davidson finally got an email from a Teleworks employer that would allow her to work from the hub in Hazard.
“I wouldn’t be able to do it without the hub,” she says.
Multiple interviews later, Davidson landed the job with a global gaming and software company through Sutherland CloudSource.
“I was nervous on my first day, but I came here and once I sat down and started doing the job, I realized what an awesome company they (Teleworks) had put together and the partnership they had and how well and fluid it worked together. It just fit,” she says. “And now I am working and I’m about to start that new life.”
Davidson is still working at the hub in her original Teleworks job, and says she knows her life would be vastly different had she not been able to find a job through Teleworks USA.
“I would probably be completely destroyed, to be honest. I probably wouldn’t have my car anymore, I’d have no way to do anything. I would just be stuck, stranded, and with no idea how to get out of it,” Davidson says, shaking her head.
After everything Teleworks USA has been able to help her achieve in her new life, Davidson adds that she wants to make sure everyone knows that even if you don’t have the experience she had when she applied for her current position, you can still come to work for a company through Teleworks.
“You don’t have to have experience to do this. One of the people that was in my training group, he was a manager at a Pizza Hut, and he blew everybody out of the water,” she says, smiling. “You don’t really realize how great of an opportunity it is until you actually put your foot in there and try it.”