Karina sees herself and her future with new eyes after graduating from the Adelante digital literacy program led by Cara Connects and Northwest Side Housing Center.
“Providing for my family has always been essential, so I started working when I was very young. My husband and I have been married for 20 years, and we have five kids who range in school from kindergarten to college. Ten years ago, I decided to stay home full time to be with them. But when my youngest started kindergarten earlier this year, I was ready to go back to work.
“I applied every time I saw a ‘We’re Hiring’ sign; but when I learned about each job’s work schedule and pay, I knew it wouldn’t work for my family.
Then, my husband was laid off at the beginning of the pandemic, and I really didn’t know what to do. I haven’t been in the workforce for years, and I don’t have a college degree. My husband was also worried about finding employment because he had worked at the same restaurant for 20 years. We couldn’t see a way to change ourselves and our futures.
“That’s when I got a call from Mariel Corona about joining the next Adelante cohort and enrolling in a free eight-week digital literacy and job training course. I read about the program online and thought it sounded too good to be true. A class that would help me practice my English, teach me digital literacy skills, and give me tools to launch my career? I didn’t know what to expect, but my husband an I joined the class together.
“Mariel welcomed both of us and provided everything we needed from computers to coaching. I immediately loved how the Adelante program wasn’t just preparing us for a job; it was preparing us for a career. The more computer skills I gained, the more confident I was in myself. The experience taught me to ‘look with new eyes’ toward my future. I am so happy and grateful for the years I was able to stay at home to raise my kids, but I didn’t realize that I had put everything aside, especially who I wanted to become.
A photo of Karina from our virtual interview
“Today, I’m becoming someone who shows my kids that it is never too late to start something new. Cara Connects and Northwest Side Housing Center helped me find a job that I love with Chicago Connected. I use all of my new digital skills from Adelante to help families get internet access and the tools children need to succeed in school while they learn from home.”