“We just need funders to believe in us and Digital Works.”
Class of 2013: Faye Saldana
Logan, OH (August 5, 2020) – Digital Works marked its 1,000 th job placement on July 15. Counted among that number is Faye Saldana, who was among some of the first graduates to begin work after completing the job training and placement assistance program.
“A friend told me about Digital Works back in 2013,” said Saldana. “I hadn’t worked in seven or eight years. My husband took care of things financially. I wanted to work again and earn money for things we wanted. At first, I wondered if this ‘work from home’ thing was a scam, but when I met the facilitator, Tammy Spring, my mind was put at ease. She encouraged me to check it out and apply. A year later, I was buying my first car on my own and didn’t need my husband’s signature.”
That car was a 2009 Cadillac CTS. Spring was so excited for her former student that she got a photo of Saldana in front of the car to celebrate and shared the news with other students.
“All of us in the classes were like a family, and Tammy was always encouraging us. Every time someone reached an accomplishment she would have all of us stand up and do a happy dance,” said Saldana with a laugh. “We [the graduates and students] would get together and go into the center. We’d look at the job hours available and everyone would grab what they could grab, and then we’d trade with each other so everyone would be able to work what they needed that week.”
The “center” was a co-working space set up in Logan, Ohio, that Digital Works students and graduates could use during classes and to work once they finished the program—even after hours.
“I live in the country, and one time my power and internet went out,” she said. “I set my work schedule that night for 9 o’clock, and I was able to go into the center and work.”
Saldana graduated from the program in 2013. Over the last seven years, she’s done work for companies like Pizza Hut, Allstate, and the Small Business Association. She credits Digital Works’ training and approach to mentorship for her success.
“The program teaches you everything you need to know about doing this kind of work—from people skills to computer knowledge,” said Saldana. “To others considering Digital Works: Don’t pass up the opportunity, because being able to be your own boss, set your own hours, to accomplish things you never you thought you could accomplish are all things you can do by going through this program. It opens up so many opportunities.”
She adds that Digital Works staff is not only encouraging during the program but long after—providing mentoring, solutions for problems, and support throughout your career. In addition, many graduates stay in contact with staff and each other, and those who have completed the program are often asked to mentor new graduates as they enter the workforce.
“I’ve mentored several people as they’ve started working for Allstate since I have a lot of experience with the company,” she said.
When asked if there’s one thing others should take away from her story, Saldana said she hoped more funders would see how important Digital Works is to support.
“This program changes people’s lives,” she said. “There are people who have never worked before or been out of a job and, especially during this time that we’re in right now with COVID- 19, working from home is really big deal. A lot of companies are going to just online sales now, so there are great opportunities for people who want to work and to be empowered to help themselves. We just need funders to believe in us and Digital Works and support bringing this training to more communities across the country.”