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Shantay D. Brown - Baltimore County Office of Economic and Workforce Development, Liberty American Job Center – Testimonial - Workforce Development and Adult Learning

I am a single mother who began my path in Human Resources in 1997 in the healthcare industry. I was fortunate to have mentors who trained me in every area of Human Resources (HR). Because of the hands-on training, I was able to move to every position in HR. However, the positions I held were lateral moves and I felt as if getting my degree would help me have better opportunities for professional and personal growth. So, in 2008, I obtained my B.S. Degree in Business Administration with the hopes of being offered jobs which were more progressive. It did not happen exactly quite that way. Companies started looking for individuals who were certified in HR. I started getting laid off because of either budget cuts or position elimination due to technology replacing an actual person. I was so frustrated. I was laid off first in 2007, then subsequently in 2009, 2011, and 2019.

When I lost my job in June 2019, I qualified for unemployment, which then led me to Baltimore County Workforce Development-Liberty American Job Center. Going to this center helped me in an unexpected way. My career counselor took much time with me and reviewed my resume. She then asked me what I call the “golden” question--that was asking me whether I was interested in further training, such as a certification in HR, because there was funding available to cover the cost of the class and exam. Of course, I immediately jumped at the chance and completed six months of study. To my dismay, I did not pass the test on the first go-round. However, I decided to not give up and was able to register for a second test after 90 days (and much more study time) I took the test and passed! This occurred a year after I lost my job. I was still unemployed for over one year and at the same time COVID-19 had put a lot of businesses on a standstill from hiring.

Getting my certification and putting that on my resume immediately afforded me attention with potential employers. I was offered a job in August 2020. I was so happy to be more marketable and was happy to get back to work. The unfortunate side of that job was that the employer was so heavily impacted by the Pandemic that I lost that job after six weeks, so I am back to my search again.

Even though I have faced many challenges with unstable employment, I continue to persevere because I am a mother, an aunt, and a friend who has a group of people who look to me for strength and guidance. I also think back to how my great-great grandmother received a 3rd grade education only, so to honor my ancestors I keep trying. My story is one of perseverance and strength to remain strong and keep trying no matter what has or has not happened.