Breathitt County resident thriving as remote worker
Kenneva Parks had spent a lot of time in her native Breathitt County looking for a new job that would allow her the opportunity to help support her family. She wasn’t having a lot of luck.
“Breathitt County is a small town atmosphere,” Parks says. “I had looked for jobs everywhere and couldn’t find anything.”
But her luck was about to change one day in the spring of 2018 as she found herself browsing social media. She came across a post for Teleworks USA and what was described as “opportunities for work-from-home jobs.”
An initiative of the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program, Inc. (EKCEP), Teleworks USA identifies and develops legitimate remote-work job opportunities with multiple national and global companies. Teleworks USA’s team of expert managers also helps prepare people for the jobs by upskilling them in customer service and technical support workshops, helping them craft strong résumés and hone their interviewing skills, and assisting them in applying for available remote-work positions they can work within their homes or eight Teleworks Hubs.
Not being familiar with Teleworks USA, Parks says she was hesitant at first, thinking perhaps that “work-from-home” meant this service would be a scam of some sort. When she decided to call the number listed, however, what she found couldn’t have been further from what she was expecting.
“I ended up sending a message on Facebook and asking for some info,” Parks says. “They got right back to me, and the next day I went to Beattyville and started filling out applications for new jobs.”
Parks had reached Teleworks USA Beattyville Hub Manager Tracie Spencer, who began working with Parks immediately to help her prepare for a variety of new jobs with telework employers. That preparation started in late May 2018 and included building Parks’ résumé and developing her interviewing skills. Parks had prior customer service experience, but had never worked from a home office before.
Just two weeks later, Parks had landed her first work-from-home job, a seasonal position as a customer service representative with U-Haul, providing support through her home computer and broadband internet connection. She followed that job with two other temporary positions, all which let her develop new skills and get used to working from home, which took some adjustment, she notes.
“You have to be your own boss, really,” Parks says. “You clock in and clock out for your breaks and lunch. It’s really like you’re in a brick-and-mortar office. People think just because you work from home you can do this and that, but it’s not like that.”
Teleworking also provides a number of benefits, Parks adds, including the convenience of having a workplace in her home and significant cost savings as opposed to having to commute to an office every day.
“I do enjoy working from home,” she says. “I don’t have to worry about gas, and I can sit around in my pajamas and work if I want. There are definitely benefits to working from home.”
Though Parks had been working, she also wanted more stability than temporary or seasonal jobs could provide. By early 2019 she had landed her first permanent teleworking position, this time with Teleperformance, providing customer support for one of the company’s clients. Teleperformance is one of the world’s largest Business Process Outsourcing companies, with more than 300,000 employees in multiple countries.
Now just a few weeks out of training, Parks is working in a new permanent position, and says she hopes she can make a career out of working from home.
“Honestly, I would love to do this for the rest of my life,” she says. “I have had such a good experience with it.”
Parks credits her decision to take a chance and contact Teleworks USA as the turning point in finding a good job, and says anyone who finds themselves in a similar situation should try Teleworks USA and the assistance they can provide.
“I thank God every day that I came across that post on Facebook,” she says. “If I hadn’t I’d probably still be unemployed and wondering where my next dollar would come from and how I can pay my bills.”
To find out more about Teleworks USA and how you can get connected with a legitimate work-from-home job, log on to teleworksusa.com or contact your nearest Teleworks USA Hub today. As an initiative of EKCEP, Teleworks USA’s employment services are completely free of charge.
Since 2015, Teleworks USA Hubs in Hazard, Hyden, Annville, Beattyville, Booneville, Harlan, Louisa, and Pike County have helped bring jobs to more than 1,800 Eastern Kentuckians, and those positions carry an estimated $40 million in economic impact in new annual wages to teleworkers across the Eastern Kentucky Coalfields.
EKCEP, a nonprofit workforce development agency headquartered in Hazard, Ky., serves the citizens of 23 Appalachian coalfield counties. The agency provides an array of workforce development services, administers the Hiring Our Miners Everyday (H.O.M.E.) program for dislocated coal miners and their spouses, and is the White House-designated lead organization for the federal TechHire designation for Eastern Kentucky. Learn more about us at www.ekcep.org, www.jobsight.org and www.facebook.com/ekcep.