The phone crackles as Doris Ramey settles into her office chair at her home in Johnson County.
“Here I am now with like three monitors and a big desk,” Ramey says, laughing about how much her life and home have changed since she took a teleworking job with BroadPath, a customer service company specializing in healthcare needs, thanks in big part to Teleworks USA.
Working from home was always something Ramey strove for, however, living in a rural area seemed to leave her with little opportunity to pursue a teleworking career. That is, until she saw a flyer for Teleworks USA come up on her Facebook feed.
An initiative of the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program, Inc. (EKCEP), Teleworks USA identifies and develops legitimate remote-work job opportunities with multiple national and global companies. Teleworks USA’s team of expert managers also helps prepare people for the jobs by upskilling them in customer service and technical support workshops, helping them craft strong résumés and hone their interviewing skills, and assisting them in applying for available remote-work positions they can work within their homes or eight Teleworks Hubs.
“Before Teleworks, I was working at Walmart pharmacy as a certified pharmacy technician for about five years, so, that was getting up every morning, the drive, taking a lunch, all that,” she says, adding that her dream job would have combined working from home and the pharmacy industry.
When Ramey discovered Teleworks USA, she immediately got on their website and signed up to start applying for jobs. Weeks went by with no calls, and she began to lose hope. As the New Year rolled around and she and her family started 2019, Ramey says she decided to make one last attempt at becoming a teleworker.
Ramey contacted Regina Tackett, Teleworks USA Lawrence County Hub Manager, to see if she could get further assistance with the program.
“Once I contacted Regina at Teleworks, it all went smooth from there,” she says, adding that Tackett was able to help her enroll in a customer service and technical support workshop to better prepare her for the telework industry.
“She actually went over processes in the workshop on using the computer, answering questions about using different technologies and things like that to make sure I was prepared for the jobs,” Ramey explains. “I think it was very helpful, very laid back and I think it was a great learning opportunity. I feel like it prepared me for the process of online jobs and online work.”
After Ramey received her certificates for the workshops, Tackett was able to further assist her with applying for a job, which she landed in February 2019 with Teleperformance, another customer service company.
Ramey stayed with Teleperformance for the better part of the year, she explains, but was thrilled to learn of a new company that would be hiring for pharmacy and healthcare related customer service.
“I actually saw the job with BroadPath on Facebook and saw that Regina had messaged me to let me know about it. I had asked her in the past if there was anything pharmacy related to let me know. . . that process went pretty smooth,” she says.
By the end of March 2020, Ramey had become a full-time employee with BroadPath, still working from the comfort of her own home.
“I have more time at home and there’s no transportation time. It gives me a little extra time at home like before and after work to be with family,” she says. “I feel like it’s more laid back here in my home office and it’s more comfortable.”
Ramey says she’s recommended Teleworks USA to a number of people she knows looking to make a career change, especially during times of such uncertainty as what the COVID-19 pandemic has brought recently.
“When all of this came about, I didn’t have to worry about changing my process, I already had the job from home and I didn’t have to go with the worry of having to change or maybe lose a job because of it,” she says, relief evident in her voice. “I feel that it is a really great opportunity for a lot of people who may not want to go out every day to a job. They want to do it out of their own home, and I feel like it’s a great thing for counties like Johnson County.”
Since 2015, Teleworks USA Hubs or Digital Career Centers in Annville, Beattyville, Booneville, Harlan, Hazard, Hyden, Louisa, Manchester, and Pike County have helped bring jobs to more than 2,400 Eastern Kentuckians, and those positions carry an estimated $54.9 million in economic impact in new annual wages to teleworkers across the Eastern Kentucky Coalfields.
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 and operates the Kentucky Career Center JobSight network of workforce centers, which provide access to more than a dozen state and federal programs that offer employment and training assistance for jobseekers and employers all under one roof. Learn more about us at http://www.ekcep.org, http://www.jobsight.org and http://www.facebook.com/ekcep.