After Aisha Winters graduated from OTI’s Trades and Apprenticeship Career Class (TACC) in the summer of 2015, she was determined to start into an official apprenticeship. She was out of work for a few months, but had some money in savings to help make ends meet while she pursued her goal of apprenticeship.
OTI Career Counselor, April Robbins, connected Aisha to Marianne Carley at the Area 1 JATC in Clackamas – an open shop school offering apprenticeship training in plumbing, sign making, painting, and the electrical trade. Marianne was happy to meet Aisha and connected her for a for job shadowing opportunity at Mr. Rooter. During her very first ride along, Aisha knew she liked the opportunity, and was thrilled when they asked her if she was interested in getting hiring on! It was only a couple of weeks later and she was accepted into the plumber’s apprenticeship!
As excited as Aisha was for the opportunity, she was also feeling nervous about the financial obligation. She didn’t realize in the beginning that she would be responsible for paying her own tuition. She had used most of her savings over the summer, and she also needed money to pay for daycare for her child.
Compounding the situation, Aisha had been on the Oregon health plan so that her daughters would have health insurance, but she cancelled the insurance after she was hired by Mr. Rooter, only to learn that there was a trial period before she would be eligible to receive her new health insurance benefits. Like many Oregon renters, her rent went up. And further, she incurred some transportation issues when her truck started having some mechanical issues. It was a huge financial outlay for Aisha when she was just in the beginning of her new career. She was scared for a while, but was able to borrow some money from family to get her through this stressful time.
Not too long after getting over these initial hurdles, a girlfriend contacted her through Facebook to let her know about the Soroptimist “Live Your Dream Awards”. Aisha met all 15 qualifications to apply, but she was a bit intimidated by the process.
She didn’t let her fear stop her though, and wrote amazing letter to apply for the $1,000 grant. Three people wrote letters of reference for her, including the owner of Mr. Rooter
A short time later, foundation member Pam Banning with Soroptimist International of Lake Oswego/West Linn called her to let her know she would be awarded with a $1,000 check on March 8, 2016 which was also International Women’s Day.
Because Aisha was chosen as the first place winner, her application will go to the regional level where she will be considered for a $5,000 scholarship. If she were to win the regional competition, then she has the potential to win a national prize of $10,000.
All of us at OTI are so incredibly proud of Aisha for all she has accomplished and will be crossing our fingers that she goes on to win these additional scholarship prizes.
Way to go, Aisha!