Karen Sue Williams was married for 32 years when the expected happened. Her husband passed away on Memorial Day in 2013. Not only was she dealing with the grief of losing her husband, but she was also dealing with the reality that she was now on her own. Karen had not been employed since 1998, and because of requirements that she did not meet she was unable to obtain her husband’s Social Security check. She did not know where to start or what to do. She had no income, no job, no security, and was unsure if she would have a meal or a home.

Even though Karen just had the rug pulled out from under her she knew she had to set out and seek employment. She applied for various jobs and received a job offer from a local nursing home on January 17th, 2014. She was going to be a CNA, but unfortunately the job did not work out, and on May 16th, once again found herself unemployed, worried, and back at square one. 

She had no idea where to turn or what to do at this point. Once again, she knew that she had to do something because her house payment was almost due and she did not have the money to pay it. She thought of losing one of the few things that was still hers and set out again with little hope but trying to keep faith. Application after application, and no call backs, Karen knew something had to change. Her niece told her to visit the KCEOC KY Career Center Jobsight in Barbourville, KY.

Helpless and discouraged she walked through the door of the Center and met Dana Brown, a KCEOC Career Center Jobsight Employee. Karen told Dana that she needed a job and she didn’t know how she was going to survive. Dana suggested that Karen attend the Job Club at the Center. Karen knew that she needed assistance since she was receiving no interviews or call backs, so she decided to attend the Job Club meetings.

During the meetings the expert advisors taught her interview skills and job search techniques, helped build her resume, developed key talking points in interviews, and other skills that Karen had not used in years. She attended three Job Club meetings when Dana told her that she had a job in mind for her, and she should stop by the next day to speak with the hiring official.

Karen decided that she would go and try to get an interview for the job. But, as she was leaving the Center, she realized how many people would be applying for the job and she decided to go that day. She called Dana to ask where it is located and arrived at the building. She walked in, shook hands with the hiring manager, felt confident in herself, interviewed, and was offered the job that day on July 21, 2014. She was hired, and is still employed, at Pioneer College Caterers in the Union College cafeteria.

Throughout the whole situation Karen had faith that everything would be okay. In her grief she knew that it would be easy to give up and quit. However, she knew that she could not do that. She has gained independence and self-sufficiency. She knows that each month she will have money to pay her bills, she loves her job, and no longer has the worries of missing payments, losing her home, and not having a meal the next day. 

Karen thanks Dana from the bottom of her heart for her assistance. She said that she can never repay Dana for what she has done for her and her future. She originally came to the office and talked to Dana scared and worried; now she occasionally comes by to check in and stay in contact with the person that helped her the most.

KCEOC KY Career Jobsight Center offers various services including local job openings, Job Club, resume help, interview skills, job training, and many other services for people of all backgrounds and ages. The Community Action Promise is to change people’s lives, embody the spirit of hope, improve communities, and make America a better place to live. Karen is one of our many success stories of the many individuals that we help daily. If you, or someone you know, are in a similar situation you may visit the Center or contact KCEOC at 606-546-3152.