Monique: I’m not afraid of work and I’m not afraid of hard work; it’s just being able to have the tools or the credentials to do that.
David E. Johnson, Manager of Employment and Training Programs: Our Commercial Driver’s License program is another amazing program that we have here at YWCA St. Paul. What does that do? Helps an individual go from perhaps nothing regarding employment to being extremely employable.
Monique: [On a MetroTransit bus, describing the checks she does at the beginning of her shift] Making sure my wheelchair equipment is there, checking my chimes to make sure they’re workin’.
Kim Trombley, Recruiter for Metropolitan Council: It really helps a lot to have candidates coming in that have some foundation in understanding the commercial driving process. The fact that there is training being conducted through the YWCA’s program is huge.
Monique: I had always been interested in the commercial driver license because I felt like somewhere down the line it would help me able to find a decent job to be able to provide for my children. This morning I’m gonna be doing the 18 [bus line].
Latrice Holmes, CDL Program Specialist: When she first interviewed her goal was to be able to support her family, gain, you know, stability.
Monique: I met Latrice through the YWCA and she became more like a extended family member that, you know, walked me through, was very supportive. I struggled with taking tests. I was intimidated by tests. That was one of my biggest fears she helped me overcome. When I was in the class taking the city training, I had gotten sick and had to be hospitalized and then I was afraid that I wasn’t gonna complete it.
Latrice: She never gave up. You know, physically she did not give up. Mentally, emotionally it was a long journey and she did not let anything in her way .
Monique: Me being able to get out of the hospital and complete what I started that was a huge accomplishment for me. And when I passed, I was just so happy and started crying because I did it.
Ken Benzel, Monique’s Supervisor: Monique has been here almost six months now and a stellar performer. Just good things to say, kind of person that we want.
Monique: This is the first time in, I want to say, maybe three or four years that I can honestly say I have stability. And if it wasn’t for a lot of people that came in my life when they did, I don’t know where I would be. [Monique tears up.] The YWCA was a big help to me and they helped me to believe in myself and I’m very grateful to them.