It was 2008 and Gladys Frank had been in the United States for less than a year. She left Haiti looking for a safer, better life for her children but so far, life was very hard. “Everything was difficult,” she remembers. “Transportation was tough. Finding a job seemed impossible. Even communicating with people on the street was challenging because no one could understand me.”
With two children, ages 3 and 4, she was struggling to feed them on an hourly wage of $7.20 per hour. “I remember waking up one morning and realizing that I had nothing to feed the kids for breakfast. I had no idea how I was going to provide for them. It was all just overwhelming. I knew I needed more education if I wanted a higher paying job, but I had no idea where to apply or how I would pay for it.”
Gladys found out about Jobs Partnership through her Head Start Counselor. “I told my counselor that I wanted to go to school, and she gave me the phone number for Jobs Partnership. I didn’t even know what I was signing up for when I called, but by God’s grace, it was just what I needed.”
Gladys convinced her manager to allow her to be off on Tuesday night (and this was no small feat). She showed up the first night and was happy to see enough pizza to feed the whole family. Through her experience with Jobs Partnership, Gladys was introduced to a network of support. “I remember the fourth night of class when they told us that Orange Technical College was coming to tell us about opportunities for additional training. I sat up straight and paid attention. This was why I was here!”
Not only was Gladys able to get a new job with Florida Hospital (now AdventHealth), but Florida Hospital paid for her to attend class five nights per week at Orange Technical College. “I felt rich!” She recalls. “I was paid $8.80 per hour to attend class on the weekdays and I still kept my old job for the weekends. I could pay my rent, pay for the bus, and my children had plenty to eat.”
But Gladys did not stop there. She has continued to improve her skills, take classes, and advance at AdventHealth. Today, she is earning $31.00 per hour. With overtime and bonus pay, she earns over $70,000 per year. She owns a home and a condo. Her two children are excelling in school and planning to attend college with pre-med majors.
“My children have seen me work hard in school and they know it pays off. I tell them that I make more money than many people who put on a suit and go to work every day. I have encouraged them to pursue a career in the medical field.”
Gladys has come so far since those days of struggling to put food on the table. She was always a hard worker. She was always ready to learn. She just needed an organization to come alongside her and give her the opportunities available in this country.
“It is by God’s grace and Jobs Partnership that I am living the American dream!” Gladys raises her arms and smiles as she tells us of her dream come true.