Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Teleworks USA Helps Leslie Countian Amanda Combs Work from Home in Her Hometown

Like many people living in Leslie County, Amanda Combs struggled to find stable, gainful employment in her hometown for years.

“I’ve always wanted to work from home,” Combs says as she turns from working at a computer terminal in the Hyden Teleworks USA Hub.

For five years, Combs worked on and off as a substitute teacher for the local school district—a job she says she was grateful for but wasn’t enough to pay the bills.

“It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t a steady paycheck,” she says. “It was just on demand, whenever they could get you in. I’ve got two boys, and it was just really hard making the bills and doing what we needed to do.”

By the time the summer of 2016 rolled around, Combs said she was at the end of her rope and had no idea how to go about finding worthwhile employment in her county. That’s when she quite literally had her come-to-Jesus moment.

During a church service one Sunday, one of Combs’ fellow parishioners told her of a new job opportunity in Hyden with Teleworks USA.

An initiative of the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program, Inc. (EKCEP), Teleworks USA identifies and develops legitimate remote-work job opportunities with multiple national and global companies. Teleworks USA’s team of expert managers also helps prepare people for the jobs by upskilling them in customer service and technical support workshops, helping them craft strong résumés and hone their interviewing skills, and assisting them in applying for available remote-work positions they can work within their homes or eight Teleworks Hubs.

“I go to church with (Hyden Teleworks USA Hub Manager) Mollie (Bentley), and she was the one that introduced me to Teleworks,” she says.

Combs had no idea what Teleworks USA was, but was thrilled to learn there was a new job opportunity in a region that felt like a job desert at the time.

Bentley mentioned the number of companies currently hiring for work-from-home positions, and invited Combs to visit the Hyden Teleworks Hub. They met later that week to get Combs started on the path toward teleworking.

“I never hesitated. I mean, Mollie, she’s a great friend, and she said there were just a lot of benefits from it and it sounded fantastic, so I came right down,” Combs says. “It was kind of neat because she said you can work from home, and I was like, that’s great!”

Bentley assisted Combs with updating her résumé, something Combs admits hadn’t been touched in a number of years. Bentley then walked her through the steps for applying online for each and every company that was hiring teleworkers at that time.

“Not too many people could probably get through it just sitting there and doing it on their own,” Combs says. “She helped me through it—I can’t brag on her enough. It helped so much to have someone there who could help through the process. It meant a lot, and it took a lot of the stress away.”

Combs explains that her work with a previous employer, Sykes Enterprises, helped her get hired in a matter of days by not one but two different teleworking companies. Less than two weeks after hearing about Teleworks USA, Combs was accepting the better offer with Concentrix, working as an account and billing specialist with a global phone and computer company and starting training from her living room.

“I didn’t have to go anywhere to do my training. I could do it right there on the computer—a lot of it was video conferencing,” she explains. “Everybody is super, super nice. You can chat with your colleagues. I’ve got several I chat with every day. Your managers are great; they’ll tell you of stuff that’s coming up that you might could apply for to advance yourself, and it’s all really good.”

Looking back, Combs says she believes she would still be working as a substitute teacher had she never heard of Teleworks USA, but stresses to anyone that even only hears someone mention Teleworks USA in passing to look into it.

“I would definitely tell them not to hesitate, that it’s a really good thing,” she says. “It would really get them on the right path because it is so good to be able to be at home, not have to leave, not have to worry about the weather. Most of the time you don’t even have to get out of your pajamas.”

“I can’t beat this,” she adds.

EKCEP, a nonprofit workforce development agency headquartered in Hazard, Ky., serves the citizens of 23 Appalachian coalfield counties. The agency provides an array of workforce development services, administers the Hiring Our Miners Everyday (H.O.M.E.) program for dislocated coal miners and their spouses, and is the White House-designated lead organization for the federal TechHire designation for Eastern Kentucky. Learn more about us at http://www.ekcep.org, http://www.jobsight.org, and http://www.facebook.com/ekcep.

Like many people living in Leslie County, Amanda Combs struggled to find stable, gainful employment in her hometown for years.


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