Gerline Paul, a Haitian-American farmworker living in Salisbury, Maryland joined Telamon Corporation’s National Farmworker Jobs Program after working in farmwork at Black Gold Potato Farm to support her young 18-month old daughter. She was very interested in gaining skills and family-sustaining wages in order to make a better life.
After completing an NFJP/WIA orientation and initial assessment, Gerline found that her education and language barriers precluded her from immediately starting her job training of choice in the high-demand high growth nursing field. Assessing at a functional level of 7th grade in both English and Math, she was looking at several years of ABE, ESL and GED instruction before she could begin training. In order to support her family, Gerline began working at a local poultry processing plant with the goal of attending ESL and ABE classes in the evening. However, the physically demanding labor required at the plant and her familial obligations found her unable to make sufficient progress.
After comprehensive guidance and counseling, Gerline decided to enter Telamon’s 12-week intensive Food and Service Training Program. This contextualized bridge program combines intensive hands-on training, industry recognized credentials, culinary math and reading, as well as Financial Education and Work Readiness skills into a comprehensive program designed for immediate entry into the local food and service industry.
Gerline’s progress in the FAST program was exceptional! In only 12 weeks she increased her Math Functional Level from GLE 7 to GLE 8. She achieved her ServSafe® Food Handler Certification and began working on her ServSafe® Manager Certification and received internal certificates of “Most Improved”, and “Best Salad Presentation”! Gerline was offered full-time employment at a local restaurant in February, 2016 where she remains employed today. She continues to work on her ESL competencies and is excited to continue her skills in the locally strong food and service industry. She is excited to be on a pathway that allows her to earn while she learns and looks forward to entering post-secondary education soon!
Submitted by Jennifer Pusey Shahan