Success Story: Andrea Mead, WOS Consultant

Sometimes you must take two steps back to jump ten steps forward. That’s been my motto as I quit my job at an international concierge company to begin a new career journey with Workforce Opportunity Services (WOS). It was a big risk: I had just graduated from the University of Texas at El Paso, had recently married, and my husband was leaving the military to go back to school, so I would be the primary breadwinner. I wanted more than just a paycheck—I wanted a career that would allow me to support my family.

After I completed my bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in Marketing, I aggressively applied to jobs in the field, but they all required years of experience. I knew if I could just get my foot in the door that I could demonstrate my skills and value.

After all, I am no stranger to hard work. I’ve held various jobs since I was 13 years old and even opened my own dance academy when I was 18. I kept it running successfully for eight years until I sold it about two years ago. I grew up in Mexico, where my parents are physicians, but I’m the first to attend college in the United States. While as a young child my family would commute to and from the states as my family had work and businesses in both countries and I went to school in the US, but it wasn’t until high school that I was no longer in ESL classes and became fluent in English.

One day, I came across a WOS job posting on Indeed for a workforce development program that would prepare me for a customer service role at Prudential. However, my WOS interviewer felt I was overqualified and instead recommended I pursue the project management cohort, which I started in late October 2018.

The 14-week program that followed was one of the most intense periods of my life. Along with my cohort peers, I took courses in corporate communication, mentoring, IT, project management and business analytics at Park University. I studied for and passed two certifications: the CAPM (certified associate in project management) and the ECBA (entry certificate of business analysis). Meanwhile, a lot was happening in my personal life. My husband and I bought a house, and I became pregnant with our first baby.

I began on-the-job training at Prudential in February 2019 and have quickly reaped the benefits of the WOS program. This unique period, in which I’m supported by WOS while working on-site at Prudential, is familiarizing me with my Prudential colleagues and managers before I transition to being a Prudential employee, meaning I skip being the “lost new person” on day one of the job. Thanks to the rigorous academics, my certifications enable me to speak the lingo used in the office so I can effectively and comfortably communicate with my team. Plus, many of my cohort peers are at Prudential too, so we help each other; it’s nice knowing I’m not in this alone.

The WOS program opens a portal to an incredible company for people who likely wouldn’t have had the opportunity otherwise because their résumé didn’t show enough experience. If it hadn’t been for WOS, I would probably be working full-time in retail or sales, which I have extensive experience in but that isn’t in my desired field. My focus would have had to be on earning a paycheck rather than developing my career, which would have been put on hold until after my husband graduated. WOS has provided us the opportunity to pursue our goals together and simultaneously has enabled me to support my blossoming family all while launching my career. I can’t wait to see what’s to come!