Coming Full Circle: Yolanda Hayden's Journey to Re-entering the Workforce

Tags: Workforce Development, Green Economy, Energy Efficiency, District of Columbia

Yolanda Hayden's journey re-entering the workforce was not easy. She reflects on her road to recovery and what lead her to her current role as the SEICBP Training Coordinator.

My name is Yolanda Hayden, and I am a DCSEU Workforce Development Program alumna. My journey started back in 2016 when I worked as a Project/Property Manager. I loved my job and the people. One day while leaving one of the properties, I was in my car sitting at a traffic light when suddenly, a cement truck came flying around the corner and slammed into the back of my car. This changed my life for the next few years.

After months of medical care and therapy, the specialist told me I would have to give up the job I loved and focus strictly on my health and recuperation every day. This would give me the best possible chance of a full recovery.

Having been independent and on my own for so many years, the reality of now being dependent on others for my care and wellbeing was a scary thought. I decided to follow the advice of my doctors by leaving my job. I then moved in with my sister and started the real healing process.

When I healed enough to venture out on my own, I started looking for work. By now of course, I had gone through all my savings and had no income coming in.

I found that looking for a job when you’re over fifty-five years old is not the easiest task. I knew I had the skills and experience, but people did not want to hire me. I will not try to get into the reasons here, but if you are in my age group you know what I am talking about.

It was hard and very depressing. I kept plugging away because I knew there had to be a job for me somewhere.

I was fortunate enough to visit a program called Friendship Place where I attended a job fair. Here I met Mrs. Glennis Brown Wade who runs the Workforce Development program at the DCSEU. We had a fantastic first meeting and she reassured me that everything was going to be okay. You see, at this point I had little hope of ever finding a job or being independent ever again.

Mrs. Brown Wade accepted me into the DCSEU Workforce Development Program and, believe me, it changed my life. I learned about clean energy, how it impacts our daily lives, and earned a living wage throughout the program. I was fortunate enough to do on-the-job training with WDC Solar, and after my externship was over, they hired me.

Mrs. Brown Wade takes the time to match people with companies that suit their skills and personality. Her dedication to her role shows in everything she does with this program.

I stayed with WDC Solar for two years and then found out the DCSEU was hiring. I applied and was hired as the new Training Coordinator for the Train Green program. My first day was January 18, 2022. I absolutely love what I am doing and plan to be around here for a long time.

My journey has been interesting and sometimes incredibly stressful but worth every moment.  I would recommend the DCSEU Workforce Development Program to anyone re-entering the workforce and would like to get involved in DC's green economy.


Media Contact

Ben Burdick
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