“Forward March not only helped me to be more myself, it helped me to be a better employee.”

Jordan’s evolvement since moving from Georgia has been a transformation of epic proportions.  Her journey began about 6 months ago when Jordan made the move to Ocala, FL to assist her ailing grandparents and to form a new life for herself.  It came at a price.  At age 19, her responsibilities and needs had shifted from herself to helping her grandparents during difficult times, then back to focusing on herself.  Jordan left quite a bit behind in Georgia to include a job she had at Dairy Queen for 6 months. During the transition, she had no cell phone, car, or money. Jordan states, “The family circumstances, move and changes in my life created emotional distress.”  It did not help that when she was finally able to begin her employment search, she was met with more roadblocks.  “I diligently and desperately searched for employment to no avail.  No one gave me the chance to show what I was made of and it seemed nearly impossible to find a job.”

Jordan’s diligent search did finally pay off when visiting a local job fair at the Ocala Paddock Mall.  She met Michele Schulze with Eckerd Workforce Development and learned of the Forward March opportunity that could maximize her chances of securing employment. This was music to her ears and she felt this was the breakthrough she had been looking for. What Jordan did not know at the time, is that it was more than just about getting a job.

Jordan soaked up the knowledge offered to her in the near 5 weeks of classes provided to her from October 10th to the successful completion with her class graduation on November 10th.  She learned so much more than she could ever imagine during the 140 hours of class time. Jordan states, “I had a one track mind to get in, get out, and get a job, but discovered that it was so much more. I didn’t just create friendships with my classmates, but we became a family filled with support and care for one another. It was definitely more than just about getting a job.  It helped me to get through a lot with the support and encouragement in the classroom.  It allowed me to open-up, connect, problem-solve, and heal emotionally.”

Jordan’s newfound self from her time in the class along with its momentum, assisted her into gaining meaningful employment in early December with Office Depot as a Sales Consultant, making $8.80 an hour at approximately 30 hours a week.  She takes pride with her new employer and can now see the bigger picture with the possibilities with Office Depot. Jordan states, “I am eager to learn and have the drive to do more. I realize the importance to focus not only on myself, but others as well. My employer, staff and customers are important to me. I have found that Forward March not only helped me to be more myself, but it helped me to become a better employee.”

Jordan is flourishing very early on in her time with Office Depot. She is happy to report that she is being cross-trained in other areas and in different departments to include the “Tech area.”  Her manager gives her early rave reviews, stating she has been “awesome” and a “valuable member of the team.”

As an update since starting her new job, Jordan is proud to report she has her own cell phone, saving up for her own car, and boasts of having her own bank account. She credits Forward March with helping her to budget her employment earnings. She states, “With the help of my instructors and new family I can say that I can and will always know how to save and manage my money successfully. The life skills I learned in Forward March taught me how to prioritize areas in my daily life. Forward March is more than just about jobs. Though managing my money is great, I realize the importance of keeping my job.”

Jordan’s journey will continue on with more promise and hope than ever before with the momentum found in Forward March. One thing is for sure; she is on the right track as she keeps on marching forward to a newfound rhythm of life.  Jordan goes on to say, “I hope that my success story affects the lives of the future Forward March participants.  You all have played a part in my success and can’t begin to thank you enough.”

Submitted by: Brian Conard, Area Manager