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Feeling Worthy: Supporting Grads with Career Success

(Above: Climb participants complete the statement “I Am Becoming…” later in the program as a way to share how they’ve come to see themselves differently.)

Asking for a raise can be nerve-wracking—just ask Stacie McDonald, Climb Wyoming’s program director in Gillette.

She coaches Climb graduates who have reached success in their careers and need extra support getting ready to negotiate with an employer.

“I worked with a Climb graduate recently who had taken on more and more responsibility in her job,” says Stacie. “She knew she was going to have to make a pitch for a raise but just needed a refresher on where to begin. She asked, ‘I’m worth more…but how do I talk about it?’”

Climb participants learn assertiveness and professional workplace communication as part of the program’s job readiness component. Staff then stay connected with them to provide ongoing support and remind them that they have the communication tools they need.

When it comes to salary negotiations, Stacie reminds moms to remember their unique talents. “I ask, ‘Are you bilingual? Do you have experience caring for elderly relatives?’ Sometimes you have to look at yourself from all angles to see what might be the most valuable to an employer.”

Brittany Gray, Climb’s Sweetwater Area program director, recently met with a grad who was moving to a new town and starting a job at a slightly lower wage.

“I told her that having a career is like making ‘deposits’ into your employee bank. Through our actions we can build up our employee bank account. People with larger accounts are more likely to be rewarded with higher wages. And people with higher wages typically have more responsibilities than someone who is new to the company,” says Brittany.

“In this case, I worked with the mom to just get really curious. What else could she take on? If more training is required, could she do that sooner rather than later? Through our conversation she had an opportunity to practice forward-thinking and what it would take to show her employer she’s hungry for it.”


“I ask, ‘Are you bilingual? Do you have experience caring for elderly relatives?’ Sometimes you have to look at yourself from all angles to see what might be the most valuable to an employer.”


When an employee is successful, her employer usually wants the opportunity to negotiate, says Stacie. That’s what happened with the grad she supported through the process recently.

“Her employer had invested significant training and time into her success, and he was really happy with her progress and the amount of responsibility she had taken on. The company wanted to keep her and, in the end, she got even more than what she asked for.”

“Climb sees potential in everyone who walks through our door,” says Stacie. “Sometimes you don’t see what other people see, and you just need a reminder of why you’re worth it.”

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