Mr Mercedes moved into one of Lantern’s buildings in upper Manhattan three years ago. With the help of his Employment Specialist, Desiree De Jesus (above), he has just landed a great job as a web developer. Here, he tells the story of his employment journey. You can read more about his story in our July newsletter.
“I am a 30 year old Dominican man. I came to Lantern Community Services three years ago, because I was struggling to get a job because I didn’t have any US work experience – but I was unable to get that local experience because I couldn’t get a job! After my first year at Lantern, having recovered from post-traumatic stress disorder, I continued searching for jobs and an employer that would hire me without having local experience. Last year, I managed to get a job at a media company in Stamford, Connecticut as Web Developer, which is my profession. The commuting distance from Manhattan was a challenge, and the salary was under the market rate, but I understood that I needed to get that local experience to be able to be function in this society, so I took the job.
“They promised me a competitive salary increase by the next year, based on performance and results. I knew that if I was going to move out to an independent apartment, I needed to get to a salary of $55,000, to meet the income requirement that many landlords in New York have imposed. My results and performance in the job were outstanding, but in January this year, I was given the salary increase which turned out to be just $2,000. This meant I was still unable to move to an independent apartment, because I was still below the 10% minimum salary of my sector. At that moment, I saw that I needed to get a new job to be able to get a better life. I started my search but was always unsuccessful and I couldn’t understand why – I was a perfect fit for the positions I was applying for, but I wasn’t getting the desired response.
“I went to see Desiree De Jesus, the Employment Specialist in the building where I live, and explained my situation and everything I had been through. She listened to everything I said, and immediately started to help. I sent her a copy of my resume and she worked out the problem that I was having: the structure of my resume was not correct and there was information missing that could interest potential employers. Desiree modified it for me, and sent some copies to employers that she found in a job fair she was assisting with. I updated my resume online with the copy she gave me, and suddenly my phone was exploding – I was getting six to seven calls a day, for a lot of positions.
“After a month, I found my current employer and I’ve just started my new job. They are paying me $65,000 and they have an amazing benefits package – yoga and meditation, pizza Fridays, 6 months paternity leave, 10% annual salary increases, and 30 days of vacations at the third year. They will also reimburse any college money I spent at the end of the year, and they will pay for any training and certification that I need to enhance my knowledge.
“During this whole process, Desiree was on top of the situation. She helped me write a resignation letter to keep my references from the previous job untouched, making sure I don’t burn that bridge, and staying updated with how I have been doing with this new job.
“I thank her a lot for her intervention and how available she has been for me. I am finally able to have a better living situation in the near future and I totally recommend her services to other clients here, she is the best! Thank you so much for everything Desiree.”