Workforce Development: Overcoming Barriers to a Livable Wage

  • Rikki Mioduski
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Connie Hillman Family Foundation gave $250,000 to ICS to help build self-sufficiency through workforce development.

Late last summer, Ann found herself needing a job—fast! Recently widowed and all alone in Tucson, she suddenly had to support herself, something she hadn’t done in over 17 years.

With no job contacts and no idea how to begin the process, Ann went to her church for support. There she learned that help is available from Interfaith Community Services.

Ann’s first time in the ICS Workforce Development Center involved a lot of tears and the release of pain and fears she had carried since her life was turned upside down. She was convinced no one would hire her because of her age and long absence from the workforce.

At ICS, Ann found people who could help her with every step of the process: online job search, submitting applications, resume and cover letter writing, and interview skills training.

Finally Ann secured a part-time job with a home healthcare agency. With it, she regained some self-confidence. She continued to apply for jobs and soon was offered a seasonal position doing visual display for the holidays—something related to her previous experience. Pleased with her excellent performance, the department store offered her ongoing work.

Successfully working two part-time jobs, Ann began to believe that she could launch a new career. With a great interview outfit from My Sister’s Closet and a strong resume created with help from the Workforce Development Center, she went to a job fair that changed her life.

Ann met an employer who recognized her potential. She went through several rounds of interviews, which she rehearsed for with ICS staff and volunteers. Her hard work and persistence paid off when she was offered full-time work with benefits, along with training to advance toward a livable wage.

Ann couldn’t wait to share her success with her ICS family in the Workforce Development Center. There were high-fives all around. For the first time in a long time, Ann felt stable and excited about the future.

Ann’s story is familiar, and those in the Workforce Development Center know it well because our staff and volunteers strive to offer personalized one-to-one assistance. Connecting with clients ensures we understand what their total needs are—needs that go beyond just an application or a resume.

The Connie Hillman Family Foundation supports ICS’s goal of helping Southern Arizonans to become self-sufficient and independent. Through $250,000 in matching funds for ICS, the Foundation is increasing our capacity to provide workforce development services for people like Ann. When clients receive support to overcome barriers to adequate employment, they create stability and future opportunities for themselves and their families.


Support Workforce Development in our community.

Call Andrea Dillenburg at 520-526-9310.