Meeting our Community's Needs - Neighbor to Neighbor

Perseverance Brings Job Success

"When I found [PRC] our lives improved so much."

“PRC introduced me to America in a good way,” said 68-year-old Onward Ushewokunze, “From receptionists to the teachers at PRC, all are fantastic.”

Onward has been a client with PRC since 2009, when he arrived in the United States from Zimbabwe. Even with his upbeat personality and nonstop smile, he was unable to find a job. “I had no skills,” he said, and though he was a certified auto mechanic in both countries, he was unable to master the technology necessary to repair cars in America.

He recalls how much his life was changed when he started visiting PRC’s Food Pantry. “When I found you, our lives improved so much,” he explained.  “My wife was a diabetic and you were able to give her special foods.”

Onward also began taking computer training classes at PRC and qualified for a refurbished computer. The computer helped him as he obtained a job as a machine operator in Glendale Heights. After four years, the company relocated to Michigan, and Onward was again out of work. He then turned to the job assistance program at PRC where he could work with a volunteer coach in his search for work.

In Zimbabwe, Onward had also worked for ten years as a highly regarded Facility Custodian.  His job coach, Laura, took time to understand exactly what this job entailed and realized his duties were that of a security officer. Laura helped Onward apply for jobs in this area.

“We sat down and she examined what I had accomplished, and together, we updated my resume,” Onward said. “She added things I never even thought of. Laura took my ideas and made them whole.”

With his new resume in hand, Laura encouraged Onward to attend a job fair where a number of security companies would be participating. The coaching was a success - “I got a job!” he said. Onward had an extensive interview which demonstrated his loyalty and talents for the position.

Onward’s first assignment was as an overnight parking monitor during the cold winter months. He diligently worked through the assignment and was advanced to working as a security attendant for a large, indoor facility and was recently promoted.

Throughout this time, Onward has persevered through many of life’s challenges and achieved one of the greatest accomplishments – passing the citizenship test and becoming a U.S. citizen. “PRC treated me very well, and the people, they are so friendly. They told me there were so many things I could do!”

If you or someone you know is in need of job search assistance, would like to work on their citizenship, or GED, please contact PRC at 630-682-5402 or visit peoplesrc.org.