by Heather Kaufmann
In October 2013, Marshall Bryant—life-long resident of Dorchester, MA—found herself unemployed after working 20 years for the same mailing company. “We were like family,” she says. “In my job as a floor supervisor, I was always on my feet and helping my employees.” The owner of the company passed away in 2012 and they eventually merged with a new company. Marshall was not taken along.
“I decided I wanted a career change. I knew my job as a shop foreman had a falling rate and they say employers don’t look farther than 10 years back on your resume. I also knew I needed more education if I was going to make this change.” After three months of struggling to pay bills and searching for a job, Marshall went to the Boston Career Center for help.
It was at the Boston Career Center Marshall found out about the Microsoft Digital Literacy Certificate (MDLC) program at United South End Settlements. The MDLC program is a 300-hour intensive program designed to prepare out-of-work, low-income, and underemployed adults for jobs that require advanced computer skills.
“Since I was working the same job for 20 years, I knew I didn’t have the computer skills that most employers are looking for these days.” After meeting with Leah Samura, the MDLC Instructor, and passing all the required assessments, Marshall joined the MDLC Program in February of 2014.
“The first word I would use to describe the program is ‘intense!’ Leah is a great teacher and does not let you give up. Two weeks before I finished the class, my unemployment benefits were actually cut off. But I fought through those last two weeks. I told myself, ‘I’ve gotten this far and I am not quitting now!’ I gained a lot of confidence in that class.”
After 16 weeks of intensive study, Marshall graduated with her Microsoft Digital Literacy Certificate.
Samura describes Marshall as “always showing initiative and looking for new ways to get involved.” Nevertheless, Marshall’s new set of skills did not translate into a full-time job right away.
Several months of job-searching and fighting for unemployment benefits followed before Samura called Marshall to let her know about a temporary opening as the Youth Programs Receptionist at United South End Settlements. Samura told her, “I know you have been trying to change over to a new kind of job but with no experience to show for it. This is your chance.”
With a reference from Samura, Marshall was offered the position for three weeks. After the three weeks were up, Marshall had to compete against almost 50 other candidates who sent in resumes looking to be hired on a full-time, permanent basis.
In light of her computer skills and friendly nature, Marshall was offered the job. On December 14th, United South End Settlements welcomed Marshall Bryant onto its staff as the full-time Youth Programs Receptionist.
“I know that what I have today I wouldn’t have if not for this program—all the work that I am required to do for my job at USES I learned from Leah. It feels like someone has given me a chance in a field that I thought I didn’t have a way of getting into. I would highly recommend the MDLC Program and just wish more people knew about it!”
“Congratulations Marshall on your new position and welcome to the USES family!”
To learn more about the MDLC Program, visit USES.org/wfr or contact Leah Samura by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 617-375-8196.