Non-Traditional Jobs in the JobsPlus! Program
He can name each child and tell you about their personalities. He has no complaint for any of the tasks he is assigned. He is patient, understanding, and has an affinity for children. He is the favorite uncle of 7 nieces and nephews. He is Julio Gomez, Child Development Student Aid at Blanton Child Development Center (BCDC).
Julio began working at BCDC in June of this year through the JobsPlus! Program. When offered the position, his first thoughts were, “little kids running around having fun…this is going to be good.” Even though his excitement for children had met his desire for employment, he admits he was a bit concerned whether or not he would be able to execute the tasks as expected. However, in the course of a few short weeks, enthusiasm for the position had overridden any lack of confidence. This is one of many objectives of the JobsPlus! Program: to bring opportunities for work experience to our student body; work experience that will hopefully lead to self-assurance and self-reliance.
Julio was also a welcome addition to the BCDC. Lydia Pires, Child Development Site Supervisor, came to the JobsPlus! Program seeking to fill a position with a suitable applicant. The center serves our young parents by providing a healthy environment for their little ones while they attend classes. “Julio provides a positive male role model presence and having an extra staff member ensures quality experiences for our 18 children,” notes Ms. Lydia. “JobsPlus! served us well last summer, so I thought I’d ask again.” She continues “It is rare to find males in our field that fell comfortable and confident working with young children.”
Julio is continually praised by his peers and those he serves. He shows initiative on the most menial tasks and has exceeded their expectations. If you talk to Ms. Lydia she will speak of his attentive care for the children. Co-workers talk of his patience and how the kids gravitate toward him. They will also tell you how he spends time working with the day care’s Spanish-speaking twins and how he takes pride in cleaning play, food, and nap areas. “He is exactly what we needed,” says Lydia with enthusiasm, “our parents are very pleased also.”
Career paths are often influenced by traditions and societal norms. Therefore, men and women are apt to overlook a plethora of alternatives available to them. An open mind to step outside the box of tradition can yield great opportunities. Julio’s big break at the BCDC has brought the aspiring EMT more than a paycheck and work experience. He has been encouraged by co-workers to become a teacher or an administrator of his own pre-school, something he wouldn’t have imagined before. He has gained new perspective and insight into his abilities. Yet, Mr. Gomez keeps a steady mind of contentment and humble gratitude for the opportunity that has been afforded him. Accepting work in a non-traditional job allowed Julio to grow as an individual and allowed his natural talents to be exercised. He accounts, “When I have kids, I know I will be ready.”
For more information about the JobsPlus! Program, please visit our website at:
http://kern.org/kcclc/jobsplus-home , or click here.