The Woman at Work (W@W) Career Accelerator Program is the first-of-its-kind, cohort-style program designed exclusively for women impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, residing in Franklin County and ready to pursue new and improved job prospects and earning potential. Through extensive in-person coaching and shared immersive experiences, W@W cohorts build camaraderie and a sense of team, as participants explore career and training opportunities together. Diamond Wall was a participant in W@W’s first cohort graduating from the program this past October. The following is her story.
Diamond Wall, her toddler son, and her significant other relocated to Central Ohio during COVID-19 seeking change, connection, and new opportunities. Like many women participating in Women@Work (W@W) Diamond had success finding better than minimum wage jobs – but not a living wage or career pathway position. With a family to support in a new city with a higher cost of living, Diamond knew she was surviving but not thriving.
Motivated by a desire to care for others and aware of the diverse hospital networks in Central Ohio Diamond wanted to pursue a career in nursing. Her master plan identified various training programs, resources, and non-profit agencies that could help her get a “foot in the door” but Diamond felt stuck on how to navigate a more complex workforce ecosystem in a new city.
A community resource “sleuth” Diamond found the W@W webpage and for this motivated mother, the program offered her what she needed at exactly the right time.
The enthusiasm Diamond brought to her W@W application and interview she carried with her throughout the program. She leveraged Life Coaching to navigate a complex social services ecosystem, refine her job search, develop an elevator pitch, and expand her network. She learned how to negotiate her pay rate and strategies to advocate for herself more effectively. Quickly, Diamond became a voice of support, encouragement, motivation, and a mentor to many of her fellow cohort members.
Diamond was elected by her peers to be the Graduation Celebration speaker. About why she and other women decided to take the leap with an unproven program, she said “Because we all wanted change. Change for our community. Because we wanted to thrive, and we wanted to reach our full potential.”
Working on her plan to get in the door coupled with unwavering motivation Diamond secured multiple job offers. Immediately following the program’s end, Diamond started her new position as an Instrument Sterilization Technician with OhioHealth. She was empowered to negotiate a higher starting pay rate – and got it!
Diamond maintains an unwavering commitment to helping others through nursing. Her next steps are to get accepted to a nursing program and attend school during the day while working at OhioHealth in the evenings.
The W@W program is funded by the Franklin County Commissioners and offered at no charge to participants. W@W is currently accepting applications for its summer cohorts. More information and links to the application can be found at www.OMJCFC.org on the W@W webpage.