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Step Forward employee reflects on hardship prior to hire

Tracey Williams walks into Step Forward’s Carl B. Stokes Head Start Center, head high and feeling proud of how far he has come in recent years.

In 2019, Williams felt as though he had hit rock bottom. He had spent almost a decade looking for a permanent job.

“I couldn’t deal with any more rejection,” he remembered.

In 2019, Williams decided to enroll with Step Forward’s Personal and Professional Development programs.

“That was a tough time for me,” Williams said. “That year, it was time for me to make changes. Career changes. I thought it was necessary to join the agency and a Workforce Development program.”

At the time, Williams admits, it was difficult to ask for help.

“Most guys have their pride; most people have their pride,” Williams said. “It’s hard to let that go and say, ‘I do need help with this and that.’ You got to buck the bullet sometimes. You have to take it. In order to give, you have to give. Accept some help.”

Williams took an anger management workshop and computer training.

“I just had to keep pushing,” he insisted. “I learned how to work on the computer, because I was terrible at it. I was able to adapt and advance to things and I was glad I did, too, because I would have been lost.”

Williams also enrolled in customer service training.

“Customer service training gives you an understanding how to deal with people,” he said.

“You’re going to run across difficult people, but everybody needs to show a level of respect.”

While enrolled in the program, he attended a job fair. He noticed Step Forward was hiring. A job placement specialist helped him apply.

“When I got the call to take the job, I had to take it,” he said. I was glad I did. I have been here three years now.”

Williams now works as a full-time custodian at Carl B. Stokes Head Start Center. He is grateful for the opportunity and happy to be working for the largest Community Action Agency in the state of Ohio.

“I have nothing but good things to say about this agency. I am a long way from where I was, and I thank them for everything they did. You will see a lot of positive things being done here. I’m very proud of what they do here,” he said. “So, thank you. Seriously, thank you.”

Step Forward now offers a sign on bonus up to $1,000 for Head Start employees, a comprehensive benefits package and paid time off for full-time employees. The agency also offers education assistance, professional development and more. Apply here and join our team.

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