Pike Countian Lanna Roberts Gets Boost into New Job from Big Sandy CAP’s Employment and Career Services

Lanna Roberts smiles when she talks about her new job.

“I like working with people,” she says, the badge pinned just below her left shoulder includes her first name in bold letters, just above her new job title: “Executive Director.”

A native of Pike County, Lanna served her first day as the administrator of Parkview Nursing and Rehabilitation Center on Feb. 1, 2018. Parkview is a long-term care facility in Pike County, and Lanna is keenly aware of her new duties and the responsibility that comes with them.

“Everything in this building is my responsibility,” she says. “That’s a big jump up.”

Lanna is also a former client of Big Sandy Area Community Action Program, where she turned to help re-enter the job market after being laid off from her position with Pike County government in June 2016.

Big Sandy CAP provides Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) career advising services in Magoffin, Johnson, Martin, Floyd, and Pike counties under contract with the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program, Inc. (EKCEP). The services help people re-enter the workforce or upskill to new, better jobs and careers.

In Lanna’s case, as a dislocated worker who was recently laid off, she qualified for assistance through EKCEP’s Community Impact program. Community Impact is funded by a $7.5 million National Emergency Grant through the U.S. Department of Labor to assist dislocated workers discover new skills and get back to work.

Though Lanna was eligible for employment services through Big Sandy CAP, when she was first laid off she wasn’t even aware those services existed. It wasn’t until she attended a meeting after signing up for Unemployment Insurance benefits that she spoke with Jennifer Hampton, an expert career advisor with Big Sandy CAP, and learned what services were available to her.

Having previously worked at Parkview in the humans resources department, and having an abundance of managerial experience in other positions throughout her career, Lanna decided to pursue a career in which she could not only utilize her college education, but also job she would enjoy. She finally set a goal of obtaining her long-term care administrator’s license. If successful, she would be able to work as an administrator in facilities including nursing homes.

She told Hampton about her plans, and it wasn’t long before Hampton submitted a plan for services. She was able to cover the cost for the books Lanna needed to obtain her license, along with costs to apply for and then take the final exam once she was ready. Hampton also provided needed support while Lanna undertook a 1,080-hour internship as part of the licensure requirements.

The support Lanna received both through Community Impact and her relationship with Hampton ensured that she would obtain her administrator’s license much quicker than having to go through the program on her own. She noted that she would have had to wait to save the money to be able to purchase the books and pay the fee to apply for and take the final exam, which would have added months to her timeline.

“I wasn’t exactly sure what I was going to do as far as having to get my hours in and job search and all that, and they made a way for me,” Lanna says. “They made me a plan and helped me or I wouldn’t have stayed on track.”

By the middle of 2017, Lanna had obtained her administrator’s license, but her end goal of landing a job as a nursing home director hadn’t been met. Hampton continued to assist with employment services in the meantime, including providing Lanna with job leads, building her résumé, and helping her land a temporary job while she undertook her main job search.

Ultimately, Lanna was motivated and determined, Hampton says, and that helped her stay focused on what she needed to do to successfully exit the program.

“She understood that she couldn’t start at the top right away and even took other employment while still pursuing her goal of being employed as a nursing home administrator,” Hampton says. “Staying goal oriented and realistic helped her be successful. Lanna never gave up.”

By Feb. 1, 2018, Lanna was sitting in her new office and beginning her new career path. And taking on that much responsibility might take some getting used to at first, but she has a lot of support as she continues to set her feet firmly beneath her.

“Everybody that’s here has been here for a while and they’re so helpful,” she says. “I’m very thankful that everybody has been so supportive of me.”

And looking back over past year and a half, Lanna says her present job ultimately came down to learning about the services available to her at Big Sandy CAP — services that are also available to other jobseekers just like her.

“I had a lot of people in my corner, with Jenni being just about the biggest push. She was cheering me on and that made a big difference to me,” she says. “This is a great program, and I think anybody who gets laid off should at least go down there and check them out.”

To learn more or to contact a career advisor with Big Sandy CAP, call 606-789-3641, or log on to jobsight.org to locate your nearest Kentucky Career Center JobSight location.

EKCEP, a nonprofit workforce development agency headquartered in Hazard, Ky., serves the citizens of 23 Appalachian coalfield counties. The agency provides an array of workforce development services, administers the Hiring Our Miners Everyday (H.O.M.E.) program for dislocated coal miners and their spouses, and is the White House-designated lead organization for the federal TechHire designation for Eastern Kentucky. Learn more about us at http://www.ekcep.org, http://www.jobsight.org and http://www.facebook.com/ekcep.