LEADOn! Article

A Personal Success Story

November 2023 | Customized Employment and Guided Group Discovery

In 2021, Jhiya Cooper participated in one of the first GGD cohorts in the D.C. Public School (DCPS) system when she joined the program at River Terrace Education Campus’s Workforce Development Center.

GGD allowed Jhiya to create a Blueprint for Employment that focused on her skills, interests, and needs. GGD also helped her build a resume that outlined her past work experience and highlighted her strengths of communication, organization, and work ethic. She found role playing with other GGD participants made her feel more confident about interviews. Through GGD, Jhiya built a portfolio of work she could show to employers during meet-and-greets at different work sites. GGD even empowered her to build her own professional website.

Immediately after completing the program, Jhiya applied to 10 jobs, and she used her Blueprint to talk to potential employers about her past experiences, future professional goals, and job customizations that would allow her to thrive in their workplace. Through her experience in GGD, Jhiya landed an internship in hospitality and then held several paid jobs, including work at a local hardware store, a cruise company, and Marshall’s. Jhiya works closely with her job coach and supervisors to build continued success. In the future, she hopes to pursue her General Educational Development (GED) diploma and barbering license, as well as move into her own apartment and pay all of her bills independently.