La Crosse, WI (WXOW) According to the Wisconsin department of workforce development, the February unemployment rate was just under 7%. The competition for jobs is steep, but the local YMCA is helping a local woman who faces employment obstacles get back to work.
It's not the most glamorous job, but Melissa Rudolph enjoys cleaning up after others. "I really do take a lot of pride in it."
Kind of ironic when you consider the 26 year old, mother of two once refused to clean up her own life. "I had meth charges. I had just lost my kids and I just didn't think I could do it anymore."
Melissa was an addict, arrested for making and selling drugs. She spent two months in jail before being released under the supervision of the YWCA and joined the Y's employment readiness program.
Program coordinator Jessie Schwarz says, "We found its the best way to learn good employment readiness skills and it prepares them for that real job."
Melissa and the other 20 women in the program, meet weekly with YWCA staff to put together job applications and prepare for interviews. They also receive on the job, paid training through the Y's We Shine cleaning service.
Schwarz say the program works because women can make mistakes and learn from their mistakes without losing their job. "We're giving them the skills they need to be a good employee."
Melissa is now working two jobs and taking care of her son again. "It keeps me busy. I don't have time to do drugs. I don't want to do them. I don't ever want to go back to that life."
Melissa is also trying to get joint custody of her daughter, and is expecting her third child, a girl, this summer. "Knowing all that and looking back on all that I did, I don't ever want to do it again. My kids are worth more to be than that."
Melissa is doing all she can to keep her family together; cleaning up her act for her kids and for herself, once and for all.
If you would like more information about hiring the We Shine cleaners contact the Jessie Schwarz at 608-781-2783
The YWCA also owns a re-sale shop called The Orange Door. Right now women enrolled in the employment readiness program can volunteer there, nut the goal is to get that business off the ground and pay women enrolled in the employment readiness program. The Orange Door is located at 729 S. 6th Street, La Crosse.
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