A JumpStart of Confidence

“You have 30 days to get out of here or get another job.”

For the past 14 years, Jesse Anderson has worked odd jobs around a local housing complex in exchange for free rent. Now at age 51, he has to find a new job or a new apartment. Not because the landlord doesn’t like him, Anderson said, but because the landlord wants to motivate him to become self-sufficient.

As he weighed his options, Anderson saw an advertisement for Cincinnati Works in an apartment rental brochure. He connected with us through our office in the CityLink Center and registered for our JumpStart workshop, a three-day job-readiness program.

He made a poor first impression, arriving more than an hour late for the first session and struggling to complete a basic application. But after receiving a pep talk from workshop trainer Vickie Mertz, Anderson’s attitude changed and his aptitude was apparent.

“After meeting Ms. Vickie that first day, my self-esteem blew up,” he said.

By the end of the three-day workshop, he earned a perfect score on a mock interview, his outgoing personality shined, and he spoke excitedly of pursuing his high school equivalency. And he began referring to Mertz as “Ma.”

“I’m feeling more full of life than I was before,” Anderson said. “Nobody has given me love like this.”

He credited Mertz and the JumpStart training for teaching him how to apply and interview for a job – and, most importantly, for instilling a sense of confidence. CityLink Center was able to help him get glasses and dental work, which will amplify his ear-to-ear smile. He said Mertz stressed the importance of sharing that smile, and he relayed a story of cheering up a family member the same way Mertz cheered him up.

Upon completing JumpStart, Anderson proudly held his certificate and looked forward to showing it to his landlord.

“You have no idea how much it means to see my name on there,” he said. “I finished something.”