2019-01-10 / Front Page

Community Action Center Hires Program Graduate

As employment specialist
SPECIAL TO THE NEWS

As an employment specialist with Center for Community Action, Brittany Nunemaker of Warfordsburg loves her job. She credits services received through the Employment, Advancement, and Retention Network (EARN) and Work Ready programs with assisting her in becoming self-sufficient in her own life, and she takes pride in helping others work toward the same goal.

Nunemaker married her husband, James, shortly after she graduated from Berkeley Springs High School. In 2008, when their daughter, Makenna, was born, she realized the family couldn’t make ends meet on just James’ full-time job, so she obtained employment at a pizza shop and then a nursing home to help the family financially. A second child, Hailey, was born about a year later.

Then in 2013, when Nunemaker was pregnant with her third child, she was lifting a patient at the nursing home when the strain caused her to go into early labor. Because of that, the doctor prescribed light-duty work. Although Nunemaker’s co-workers were willing to help with her work, it wasn’t possible for her to keep her job at the nursing home. Her husband James was also out of work due to health issues.

While unemployed they found themselves getting sick from what they found to be mold in their apartment. They were evicted when they made their landlord aware of the problem.

Understanding that they needed assistance, the Nunemakers visited the county assistance office, where they applied for assistance. It was then that their caseworker was able to get them into the Employment, Advancement and Retention Network (EARN) and Work Ready program.

“Part of our condition to receive the cash assistance was to work at the Fulton County Food Basket, which I began to do after having Brantley,” Nunemaker explained.

“It was a godsend for me because we were trying to get to doctor’s appointments for my husband, I had trouble with the pregnancy, etc. This was somewhere for me to go to work where they understood my situation.”

Only needing to work parttime hours at the food bank, Nunemaker asked management if she could work full-time because it made her feel good to work and help others. It was there that Nunemaker met people who inspired her to find her inner confidence and follow her dreams.

“Sherri Lynn and Susan Cubbage from the food bank encouraged me,” she explained. “They listened when I needed an ear and told me to stay on my path.”

Nunemaker insisted just talking with the volunteers who came in to the food bank helped her.

“It made me really think, when I heard that they struggled too – needed assistance – and now own their own company, or are thriving,” she explained. “It made me realize I could accomplish my goals.”

Then, while the food bank was working to obtain a grant to include Brittany on their payroll, she received a call from Center for Community Action inviting her to an interview. “They understood my schedule and had known all I had gone through, and they offered me the position as a job coach,” said Nunemaker.

“I said, I’ll definitely take it! I started part-time and was really proud to be offered full-time after about six months.”

Through her position as an employment specialist, Nunemaker assists in proctoring the HiSet test, a high school equivalency test, while also helping with the Work Ready program in Fulton County. Her responsibilities include helping individuals with their resumes, completing job applications, and working with high school students who have disabilities to become ready for the work force. And although her obligatory volunteering at the food pantry was over, she remained part of their team. It seems Nunemaker couldn’t be more grateful for the connection with her friends at the food pantry and is appreciative of the services that Center for Community Action provided to her.

“Center for Community Action services helped build me up and prepare me for jobs,” she said. “And the ladies at the food bank helped guide me, especially when I was doubting myself. They reminded me that I was headed in the right direction and set me on my path. You’ve just got to keep your faith and know that the path you are on is the path God wants you to take,” she said. “And, follow through.”

Believing the EARN program and her volunteerism at the food bank helped her become confident enough to go out of her usual comfort zone, Nunemaker said it is important to take chances.

For more information on the McConnellsburg Center For Community Action, located at 216 North Second St., Suite D, call 717-325-4380.

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