“Go in with an open mind. Whether you have all the skills that they are going to prepare you for or none of them, go in with an open mind so you can absorb what they do have to offer. Advocate for what you need.”
Kaylyn graduated from IndyPendence Job Corps in 2018 and continues to have a great relationship with the center, its staff and her former classmates. Kaylyn not only completed her office administration training in five months, but created strong bonds that continue to impact her life today. After graduating from high school and attending University of Indianapolis for a while, Kaylyn decided college wasn’t the best fit. She started working in retail, but Kaylyn didn’t see herself moving up, working a job with little to no growth opportunity. She was also looking to move out of her mother’s house and needed more income to be financially independent. Kaylyn was looking for a better future.
Her mother, who works for Volunteers for America, told Kaylyn about Job Corps and the stars aligned. During her time at Job Corps, Kalyn interned at Harwell Legal Counsel, an attorney’s office, and excelled. They even offered her a job, but she decided to go in a different direction. Kaylyn also became the SGA president, participated in a volunteer program reading to local schoolchildren, planted flowers and did community work in the city. She did everything she could in her short time on center. Kaylyn’s work experience prior to joining Job Corps enabled her to offer peer mentorship to other Job Corps students. She assisted with resume writing and reinforced the importance of the skills they were learning at Job Corps.
“Even three years later, if I ever need something in the community, I normally call Job Corps first … they still continue to be my connection to the community.”
After graduating from Job Corps, Kaylyn became a dispatcher at a transportation office, which she enjoyed but still wanted more. Marion County Jail then offered her a position with better benefits. She worked there and started to realize there was no room for her to grow. Kaylyn was always looking to grow in her career. During this time, she was also working at Pandora as a seasonal sales associate. Kaylyn decided to pursue a better opportunity and work full time for Pandora. In July 2020, Kaylyn had her baby, Zion, and in September, she became a team lead at Pandora. She excelled once again and was promoted to store manager of a larger store in February 2021. She worked her way to the top because of her hard work and dedication. It was a lot becoming a new mother and store manager all during COVID-19, but she knew she could do it. “Sometimes I like to connect back to ‘OK, I did Job Corps. I did all these programs. They gave me the skills that may be refining what I already had; but at the end of the day, I’m still facing new challenges every year.’ So, the training that I received in the past is refining what I already know so that when I face something new, I can go, ‘OK, I still know how to write a resume. I got trained on how to interview, so now I know how to interview others.’”
Kaylyn is succeeding as a manager and even hired a Job Corps graduate who worked for her for a while. It was a full-circle moment when Kaylyn went from being interviewed to becoming the interviewer. She continues to use the skills and experience she received at Job Corps in her job. Her connection with Job Corps continues to remain strong. Her mentors from center keep in touch, asking about her son and if she ever needs anything. Kaylyn’s goal for the future is to become an operations manager. She is really interested in supply chain management, working with numbers and logistics. For now, she is thriving in her role and continues on the path of success.