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CLIMB featured in Laramie Boomerang

CLIMB to the top
Businesses hire moms with right skills

By THADDEUS MAST

Vanessa Masters has a car, house and a steady job — none of which she had six months ago — thanks to a Laramie organization that helped her help herself.
Laramie Boomerang

When single mothers like Masters can’t find steady work and need help finding a full-time job, CLIMB Wyoming steps up to the plate.

A 12-week program offered by CLIMB takes ten moms and teaches them the skills necessary to succeed in the workplace.

“We had 30 applicants for the last session,” said program director Katie Hogarty. “We interview each of them and select 10. For some, now is not the time.”

When Masters first applied more than two years ago, she was told she was not ready.

“I was working at Arby’s, providing for three kids,” Masters said. “I didn’t think I could do it.”

Earlier this year, one of Masters’ friends told her to take a second look at the program. Once she learned it was only twice a week, she applied and was accepted after a three-hour interview.

After acceptance, she had to attend classes from 8 a.m.- 5 p.m. twice a week, which prepared her for a new job in many ways.

“We even had to clock in and clock out,” Masters said. “If we were on time, we could get gift cards to Walmart or Safeway.”

The program, free to moms, puts emphasis on computer skills, a necessity in today’s job market.

Working with Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint, as well as an accounting program, was done every class, as most jobs in Laramie need these computer skills, including Masters’ new job at Wyoming Analytical Laboratories.

“They’re training me in almost everything,” she said. “Right now, I’m working with intake samples.”

She has been with the company for three weeks and hopes to stay with the business after an eight-week work training program provided by CLIMB is finished.

Urgent Care of Laramie hired a CLIMB graduate six months ago, and Khristy Spaeth, practice administrator, said it was a great choice.

“The work ethic CLIMB teaches really stays with the graduates,” she said.

“(Our CLIMB graduate) wants to work hard and better herself.”

The company first heard about the CLIMB program through another business, then reached out to Hogarty.

She then started trying to find the best graduate to fit the position — in this case, a full-time front office receptionist. While Urgent Care does not currently need any more employees, Spaeth said she would look to CLIMB for another hire.

“We would absolutely go back to CLIMB,” she said. “What they do is wonderful to the community and is beneficial to everyone involved.”

Graduates especially feel the benefit.

Since beginning the program in August, Masters has stopped living in a motel and moved into her own house, bought a car and should be able to provide for her children in the coming months.

“When I graduated, my daughter and son came and said they were proud of me,” she said.