We began by asking everyone to tell us their job journey.
Ann Williams applied for a job as a student for a class assignment at Central Arizona College. Thirty one years later she is still at the college having journeyed from Registration, Financial Aid, and now Career Service. She has organized job fairs, in fact the “Largest job fair in Pinal County with 80 vendors,” she proudly announces. The next college job fair is April 5.
Ann gave an update on her children. He daughter wanted to work at the college, like her mother, but she works for Carrington College. Her youngest son has a recording studio and is producing CDs. Her oldest son went to military and has been in two wars. Now he works for an oil company in Afghanistan. He posted first check on Facebook: $14K for the month. Both Ann and he are proud of his six figure income!
Carol Giddens, native of Coolidge, went to the local high school and local community college. She studied Organizational Development. For 19 years she worked at Head Start. The she retired, but not for long, and returned to work first, at Humana and then for the United Way, where she has been for the last three years.
Hilda Perez applied for case management job at the Pinal Hispanic Council and is happy to work with clients. She has referred them to the Job Club and is interested in the concept of a work ready community. Her children are 17, 16, and 12 years old. They are active in sports and her sons are wrestlers.
Karen Zorn, Manager of Adecco Employment Service in Casa Grande, AZ for 16 years has 420 associates for Pinal County. Adecco is one of the top ten employers for this area and the largest global staffing agency in the world. . The staffing agency covers jobs from Maricopa to Florence, and help CAC in Apache Junction. Frito Lay works through Adecco for employees.
Out of high school Karen started college and then had a family. They started a family business so their children could be with them. They owned a Laundromat, and worked with Casa Grande hotels to develop drop off laundry service. They also owned washers and dryers in RV parks and offered appliance repair. Then she found herself at Addeco.
Karen told us about the problems she sees in our communities. The largest teen pregnancy rate in the country is in Pinal County. Transportation is needed for people to get to work when they have no car of their own. When feeding family on minimum wage, there is no extra for a car. She wondered when is it too late to be prepared? She advocated going to preschools, then elementary, junior high. She has seen disrespect by high school students. She told of giving her son $20 for getting good grades at age 7, and saving his money to buy jersey to go to Cardinals game.
“You can’t stop raising your children after age 7 or 8,” Karen admonished. “I want to reach parents of young children. Teach them to respect adults, authority figures, and to get up to go to school and work. No rights as children are condoned for tattoos and body piercings. Give them a dress code.”
“No matter what your work ethic and resume is, if you have a felony and misdemeanor, you are eliminated from many jobs. Warn your children that they cannot get criminal background and expect decent work.”
Karen Zorn was immediately recommended to be an assembly speaker for the high school in Eloy.
Rosalinda Ybarra worked for the prison for 15 years. She started as a correctional officer to a bailiff for an immigration judge and then a federal judge. She served as a counselor for the Bureau of Prisons and then a Case Manager. She has worked the Gila River Reservation Treatment Center. She earned a Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice and Master’s in Addiction Counseling and Professional Counseling. She enjoys her job, doing groups, anger management, domestic violence, and substance abuse in English and Spanish. She is a licensed counselor and is seeing the need in this area with drug use and subsequent involvement in the criminal system. She had an internship with Pinal Hispanic Council and was offered a job. She has been there for one year and believes she has a great job.
Laura Catorena has worked in retail, prison, medical records, a secretary and as a case manager. She is working toward a Master’s in Professional Counseling.
Socorro Galusha Luna earned a Master’s in Vocational Rehabilitation and has enjoyed helping people find jobs. She is currently the Job Education Specialist for the Eloy Public Library and the Arizona Job Assistance Center. Her job journey began as a teacher’s aide for Head Start when she was a sophomore in high school. She has taught all levels, including college. The majority of her teaching was her own children through home education. Her daughter is married and a graphic designer in Seattle. Her son is studying to be a pastor and lives in Dallas.