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Maria Sanchez, clerical assistant, Fresno EOC Employment and Training, was recognized as the Fresno Regional Workforce Development Board’s 4th Quarter Award Winner at the Fresno City Council meeting last week. Staff nominated Sanchez because of her success in the program, motivation to succeed, and ability to overcome all obstacles.

After being unsuccessful in previous job search attempts, she was referred to Employment and Training in August by a friend who also went through the program. While a participant, Sanchez completed workshops, trainings, assessments and entry level clerical training, which led to her becoming a stand-out youth in the program.

“This was my first job, I didn’t know what to expect and I was nervous,” Sanchez said. Now she is more confident than when first entering the program as a young adult suffering with anxiety. Staff say she sped through introductory clerical, general office and work-based training.

“I can be in an elevator now with a person I do not know and ask them about their day,” Sanchez said. “I was amazed with myself and the program because they pushed me to get out of my shell. That’s something I’m really thankful for.”

During her mock interview, staff saw potential in Sanchez and thought she would be a great fit as a temporary Clerical Assistant. Fresno EOC Employment and Training, funded by Workforce Connection Youth Services, provide youth ages 14 to 24 with career based training and assist individuals while in pursuit of their educational goals.

“We have a history hiring participants,” Brandy Tarquino, Administrative and Operations Specialist said. “I knew if she went anywhere else they would take her and I wanted her on my team.” Tarquino also began her journey with Employment and Training as a participant, much like other Fresno EOC staff who were once participants in the program they work for.

“She definitely has the determination to do whatever she sets her mind to,” Tarquino said. “It will hopefully be at Fresno EOC, but if not she will be successful.”

Sanchez is happy to be an example for her siblings, provide for her family and tells others about the skills she has gained with the program. “Being dedicated, motivated and a sense of confidence when the task is done,” are all skills Sanchez cites as skills she carries with her on the job.

Since she started working in January, Sanchez has gained experience monitoring a multi-system phone, referring clients to appropriate staff, job shadowing, organizing files, documenting new participants and providing them with professional clothing from the donation closet.

“She is relatable, closer to their age and she has referred more participants to us or to other programs,” Tarquino said. After seeing how quickly Sanchez completed tasks and her willingness to help other participants, the decision to nominate her for the Regional Workforce Development Board 4th Quarter Award Winner was easy for Employment and Training.

“Maria always maintained a positive attitude no matter her circumstances,” Alex Walton, Academic and Career Advisor said. “I was quickly able to figure out, she is dedicated to succeeding. She works hard and gives her best at anything placed before her. With her commitment and dedication there are hardly any limits and I’m excited to see what the future holds.”

Sanchez is planning to enroll in Fresno City College classes during the fall 2019 semester and reflects positively on her journey from participant to staff member. “I used to want to be a veterinarian, but I think now I want to work with kids or somehow help people,” Sanchez said. “I had a lot of doubt in myself, but now I know what I can do; I just have to keep going.”


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