Veronique O’Meally came to America from Jamaica looking for a better life, but the first three months were hard. “I had no job and my Mom was ill,” she says. “There were times when I sat on the roadside and cried, asking myself why I came here.” All of that changed when she met a woman from Nigeria who told her about JVS and its Nurse’s Aide Training Program. JVS is a major provider of workforce development programs in Boston and this program is emblematic of Project Catapult’s approach: It works hand in glove with employers, including Spaulding Rehabilitation and Partners HealthCare.
“After I graduated from the program, JVS hosted a career fair and I was introduced to several employers,” explains O’Meally. In just three days, she was hired by Spaulding Rehab. “We did not go in search of the jobs,” she says, “the jobs came to us.” She loves her job, especially motivating her patients. “My time at JVS was a pebble in a personal avalanche that has set me up for so much more success than I could ever imagine.”
Exodia Demosthene says that her first day at Resilient Coders was like walking into an open-armed tech environment. “I’m Boston through and through,” she adds, having grown up in Dorchester and graduated from the Boston Public Schools. She immediately loved the strong sense of community at Resilient Coders, which reminded her of the community she grew up in, and went on to complete one of the nonprofit’s bootcamps.
“Resilient Coders prepares us for employment as software engineers through a 14-week full stack developer curriculum and mock interviews that cover everything from whiteboarding to behavior,” she explains. Since the language of technology is always changing, the interviews often pose an abstract problem that is worked out on a whiteboard. The online retail company Wayfair, which partners with Resilient Coders and participates in some of the mock interviews, hired her as a software engineer. “I’m deeply committed to my community and the efforts to increase access to high-growth careers. Wayfair is a huge company right in the middle of Boston with opportunities every resident should feel empowered to explore. There is so much talent right here on the streets of Boston that it’s inspiring to see barriers begin to break down.”