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  • Date: May 25, 2022
  • Category: get IT

Got IT | Working with NHEP to help a single mom in need

Before telling you about the New Hampshire Employment Program (NHEP) and the single mom we’re helping, we have to share how this blog post relates to two other stories from recent months.

Since give IT. get IT. is a Maine non-profit organization, you may be wondering  how we started working with NHEP. It all started back in December when give IT. get IT. stepped in to fill the service gap left in New Hampshire when Computer Technology Assistance Corps of Manchester unexpectedly closed after the passing of its Executive Director. We worked quickly to connect with NHEP and several other New Hampshire-based health and human services organizations so they could access refurbished computers and user support from us for their clients.

Diana’s computer was one of the 33 laptops we picked up at Tilson Technology in February.

A few months later, we decided to do something else we’d never done before: follow the progress of two refurbished computers from pickup at a New England area business to delivery to our “got IT” clients. The first computer we processed from Tilson Technology went to a disabled woman in central New Hampshire who needed a computer to access telehealth services. We’re delighted to report that the second laptop went to a single mom in western New Hampshire striving to create a better future for her family.

Everybody knows being a mom is the toughest job on the planet but only single moms know how hard it is to take care of a child with no help. Comic book fans know that Wonder Woman’s alter ego is Diana and that’s what we’re going to call this “got IT” client who was kind enough to let us share her story.

Diana and her daughter live in western New Hampshire. In addition to caring for her infant, Diana is trying to acquire the skills she needs to get a job in accounting. “I’m taking an online program through my local community college,” Diana explains. “I’m starting with business management and intro to computers so without give IT. get IT., I’d never be able to take these courses.”

Fortunately, Diana is not entirely alone. She has the support and guidance of Dan Skurat, a career coach with New Hampshire Employment Program (NHEP). As Dan explains: “NHEP is a temporary cash assistance program that provides career assessment, planning, and retention services for low income/no income parents.  Participants are required to engage in work readiness, job search, or training activities for 20 or 30 hours a week depending on the ages of their children. To receive support services, like NHEP paying for her laptop, Diana must consistently engage with the program and meet our required hours.

NHEP’s goal is to help participants find meaningful careers that provide them with financial independence. Diana’s goal is to acquire the accounting skills she needs to land a bookkeeping or medical billing job and Dan helping her achieve it. Diana must meet with Dan at least once a month, but they typically meet every other week. “In these meetings, I check in about her courses, how she’s doing in them, and life in general,” Dan says. “I provide counseling and guidance on everything from finding affordable child care to figuring out what career is right for her. If she needs anything, I refer her to outside resources like her mental health counselor.  We all need someone to talk to, and that’s especially true for single moms.”

NHEP covered the cost of her computer and books, but when it comes to funding her education, NHEP refers its clients to other state programs through NH Employment Security, such as the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), WorkNow NH, and federal financial aid (FAFSA).

So how is Diana doing?

“Since receiving the laptop, Diana has begun studying for her driver’s license and is taking a free 6-week online career readiness class through the local community college,” Dan explains. “She has completed her FAFSA for next school year and is enrolling in a 1-year certificate program in accounting at the community college. The laptop has enabled her to access programs and services she otherwise would not have been able to easily participate in while living in a rural area with very limited public transportation. Diana is highly motivated and has defined reasonable goals for herself.  My hope for her is that she will succeed in her college classes and begin working part-time while in school.”

At give IT. get IT., we’re proud to partner with counselors like Dan who refer single moms like Diana (and hundreds of other people each year dealing with difficult life situations) to us to connect them with high-quality, low-cost computers.

“It can be hard sometimes, but I try to do what I can to give my child a good life and make mine better than it was before,” Diana says. “The computer has helped so much with online doctor’s appointments and therapy Zoom meetings as well as my NHEP meetings on zoom and getting my college classes together and sorted out. As I have no transportation zoom is really important to me and has helped a lot. I really am thankful for this program as it’s giving me the option to actually build my future.”

If your business has surplus technology in need of recycling or you know a company that does, please connect with Allen Cornwall, our Technology Reuse and Recycling Advocate at acornwall@itec3.org or 207-749-3431.

If you’d like to help us help people like Diana* by contributing to our get IT. sponsorship fund, please CLICK HERE to make a tax-deductible donation.

*In Diana’s case, NHEP covered the costs we incurred picking up, refurbishing, and shipping her laptop with a free computer bag. When clients are unable to pay anything and don’t have an organization like NHEP supporting them, we pay for the computer with money from the sponsorship fund.

If you live in New Hampshire and want to connect with NHEP for help achieving your career goals, please CLICK HERE to find the office nearest you.