Call Pathfinder: How can my cousin who has a disability and no diploma find a job?

Hand holding cell phone

Caller:  Hi. My cousin dropped out of high school, and he’s done some work – a bunch of odd jobs – since. But he has not found anything that is full-time, with livable wages and/or benefits, or that offers opportunities for growth. He has a disability, and I think the behavior problems he had in high school are much better now. Still, my aunt is very worried that he won’t be able to support himself when she is gone.  And now he is having trouble finding anything at all during this pandemic. He’s tried many other programs, but nothing has clicked. What else can he try to get him back on a good employment path?

Pathfinder: Great question!

America Works is a program your cousin has not tried yet, and it is an employment agency that may be able to assist him in his employment goals. It works with persons age 18-65, with varying skill levels, job history, and experience. What’s more, they don’t charge you for the help. Here is a link to their informational page in our database:  America Works of Tennessee, Inc.

A leader in long term job placement, the company boasts of successfully jump-starting the careers of over 800,000 clients with varying barriers to employment since its inception in 1984. They partner with hundreds of local, state, and federal government agencies, community-based organizations, and private companies to provide employment services in both urban and rural settings. In addition to English as a second language and Ticket to work programs, they have a GED program that might be of interest to your cousin.

During the national health emergency, they are working virtually, with additional readiness, self-sufficiency, and technology trainings, tackling topics like doing an effective interview on the computer, for example.  All the trainings are virtual. America Works CEO Antonia Cove said the agency has taken a very cautious approach with their clients because many of them are from vulnerable populations. She said they can even help a person assess if it is safe for them to go back to work. Now and prior to the pandemic, they follow their clients, with regular check-ins, for at least five years and sometimes longer.

In addition to working with persons who have disabilities, they work with military veterans, welfare and SNAP recipients, young adults, the criminal justice involved, homeless, Spanish speakers, and non-custodial parents, among others.

America Works has office locations in 13 states and D.C.; in Tennessee, they have two offices, in Memphis and Nashville. They work with a national network of employers looking to fill many types of jobs, such as sales, customer service, consulting, food service, telemarketing, healthcare, drivers, maintenance, secretary, receptionist, and security.

Your cousin may also enjoy watching some of the videos of former jobless persons telling their America Works transformational stories. They are posted on the Job Seekers page:

Below is a link to all the employment programs across the state, in the Pathfinder database.  Remember to Call Pathfinder for a customized search for the best resource/s for your need.