Carla Stallworth decided to become a student in the Microsoft Digital Literacy Certificate (MDLC) program at United South End Settlements (USES) after her friend, neighbor, and USES employee Michelle Barnes referred her to it. “I graduated high school in 2006,” said Carla. “I haven’t used computers very much since then. I knew I needed to get more knowledge of computers – typing, budgeting, using Microsoft Office, making slideshow presentations – before I could look for another job.
Carla is a mother of two young children and knew it would be a challenge for to attend class and take care of both of her children. “USES made it possible for me,” said Carla. “I received a scholarship for my four-year-old son to attend USES’ Early Childhood Education program while I was in class.”
The MDLC Program is a 480-hour, intensive program designed to prepare out-of-work, low-income, and underemployed adults for jobs that require advanced computer skills. The program culminates in a 4-week internship at USES where students apply their newly-developed skills and gain real-world experience. As a part of her internship in the Workforce Readiness department, Carla worked on marketing and outreach for MDLC’s upcoming cycle. She distributed more than 450 flyers all over Boston.
“Thanks to Carla’s help, the new MDLC class is completely full. She did such a great job that other departments keep stealing her,” said Leah Samura, MDLC Teacher and Technology Coordinator. “I saw her gain so much confidence in herself as a student here – she has really discovered her own skill set.”
“At the beginning, the program was a challenge for me. But Leah provided us all with good instruction and one-on-one support,” said Carla. “Each day, we learned something new which we could apply to our work the following day.”
Carla graduated from the MDLC program on June 19 and has spent the majority of her summer volunteering here at USES. “I wanted to give back to USES and the community as a way of saying thank you for providing me and my family with new opportunities and resources.”
This fall, Carla will begin a culinary arts training program at the Salvation Army Kroc Corps Community Center Boston. Her dream is to one day open her own restaurant.
“This program has impacted me so much,” says Carla. “It has taught me discipline and helped me to gain confidence in myself. I feel uplifted by everyone I’ve met at USES.”