Monday, October 8, 2018

Teleworks USA Supports Lee Countian Brittany McQueen to Overcome Small-town Obstacles and Find Sustainable Career

Lee Countian Brittany McQueen has lived most of her life in a small town, making her somewhat of an expert on small-town life.

“It’s really hard to find a job in a small town like this—period,” McQueen says as she adjusts her chair in the training room of the Teleworks USA Beattyville Teleworks Hub.

McQueen struggled to find a stable job that paid a living wage for months after she found out she was being laid off from a customer support position for a cable company in mid-2015.

“The center I used was just for people to come in and use internet who didn’t have internet at home,” she explains of her situation when she took the position in 2014. “They get federal grants, and they can only keep the centers open for two years at a time and then they have to move on to somewhere else.”

The company gave its employees 6 months notice of the impending closing of the center, but McQueen says that did little to help in her job search.

“Since I had advanced time I thought I could find something else,” she says, shaking her head.

During her search before the start of 2016, McQueen says she bumped into Beattyville Teleworks Hub Manager Tracie Spencer while in town. That meeting showed McQueen a path to employment she hadn’t considered before.

“She let me know she was working at Teleworks and let me know what it was about because I had seen things in the newspapers, but I didn’t really know what it was,” she says with a laugh.

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 eight expert Teleworks Hub Managers also help 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 the eight Teleworks Hubs.

Since its inception in 2012, Teleworks USA has opened Teleworks Hubs in Hazard, Hyden, Annville, Beattyville, Booneville, Harlan, Louisa, and Pike County. Those Hubs have helped bring jobs to more than 1,700 Eastern Kentuckians, and those positions carry an estimated $39 million in economic impact in new annual wages to teleworkers across the Eastern Kentucky Coalfields.

McQueen quickly realized that her search for a job was not going the way she needed it to, as she wasn’t getting any job leads and her savings were quickly running out. So, she turned to Teleworks USA.

“I came down and Tracie let me apply for several different things at once because I wanted to get a job so badly, and I was really struggling at the time,” she recalls. “I’ve got four kids, and just supporting one is impossible even with income—it was hard.”

McQueen explains that Spencer made the process quick and simple, asking basic questions and matching her with positions that would perfectly suit her needs.

“She asked me what I was looking for, if I was more into technical positions or sales, if I needed part time or full time, and from there she was able to help me choose different companies to apply for,” McQueen says. “She helped me through every single step of it.”

In a matter of days, teleworking companies emailed McQueen with interview and job offers. She says she couldn’t believe how quickly the process went and had landed a seasonal work-from-home job within a week.

“This was like my last chance—and I knew it was,” McQueen says. “That’s why I had so much hope that something was going to work out with it, and I’m so grateful that it did because I would literally probably be homeless if not for that.”

After her first seasonal position ended, McQueen says she landed another seasonal telework position with another company.

“I loved both of them, and the pay was good for around here, but they were seasonal, of course, so I had to move on,” she says. “Seasonal jobs at least give you the experience you need to help you get another job in the future.”

In the spring of 2018, McQueen says she decided to apply for customer support position with Sutherland for a software and gaming company—a position that she honestly thought she wasn’t right for.

“I just kind of thought going into this job, I’m going to be kind of lost, I’m going to be behind everybody else,” McQueen says. “I’ve not played a lot of video games, so I thought, oh no!”

Even with her doubts, McQueen admits that she was ecstatic when she learned she was moving on through the hiring process only a few days after submitting her application. After a rigorous interview and testing program, the company informed her she got the job and would begin training.

“It was one of the most in-depth and enjoyable training experiences I’ve ever had out of any job,” she says, beaming. “You can go in having absolutely no knowledge of it and the training experience with it is so wonderful that within a week’s time you start feeling comfortable and stop panicking.”

“From the first day of training I knew I was going to love it,” she adds.

McQueen was officially hired and out of training in May 2018 and says she can hardly imagine what her life would have been like had she not decided to give Teleworks USA a chance.

“I’d probably be homeless, honestly, because before I got that job at that cable company I had looked for a job for like a year, and I didn’t have a car so finding a job in another city wasn’t an option,” she says, shaking her head as a sad smile flits across her face.

Having Teleworks USA and resources like the Teleworks Hub available to the people in her community is a blessing, McQueen says.

“It’s exactly what we needed. There are very few job opportunities in a small town like this,” she adds. “There are so many people who are low income in this community, just having the option to work here—even if it’s until they get on their feet and are able to get set up at home—that’s a big deal. That’s what a lot of people need, just that help up, and Teleworks does that.”

To find out more information about Teleworks USA, go to TeleworksUSA.com!

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.

Lee Countian Brittany McQueen has lived most of her life in a small town, making her somewhat of an expert on small-town life.

“It’s really hard to find a job in a small town like this—period,” McQueen says as she adjusts her chair in the training room of the Teleworks USA Beattyville Teleworks Hub.

BEATTYVILLE