Success Stories: Florence Koukola
Congo Native Improves English and Lands Great Job
Twenty-four-year-old Florence Koukola was born in the Congo and lived for a time in the Ukraine, where she was enrolled in a Bachelor Degree equivalency program in International Economics. She moved to Oregon in 2004 and though she spoke French, Russian and Ukrainian fluently, she had limited English skills. Florence needed to improve her English, and she needed to find work. In February 2005, she sought help from the Clackamas County workforce system.
The workforce development staff at Clackamas Community College (CCC) helped Florence enroll in an intermediate English as a Second Language (ESL) class. The staff also helped her create a résumé to highlight her clerical and language skills and focus on securing employment with a government agency. The job developer worked with Florence to help her understand the needs of local businesses and the business culture, and to practice interviewing skills.
The job developer also arranged for Florence to do a work experience internship with the college’s language arts department. Her tasks included helping the department chair prepare for meetings and coordinate several projects. Upon completion of the work experience, the job developer arranged a job interview for Florence at Mercy Corp, NW. Following one month of on-the-job training, Florence began working as Cultural and Business Liaison to the Russian community.
Thanks to Florence’s language skills, her commitment to moving ahead, and the hard work of CCC’s workforce development staff, Florence has landed her first job in the United States - She is earning $12.50 per hour with benefits and in a position that matches her original interests.