Clay Countian Melody Collins has never felt more appreciative of her job than she has this year. After suffering a devastating layoff in 2019, Collins was able to swiftly get back on track with her career, bills, and life after becoming a teleworker with the help of Teleworks USA.
“Teleworks has really made a difference in my life,” Collins declares during a phone interview as she stands in her kitchen in her home in Manchester, Ky., making breakfast for her son.
Collins worked for nearly a decade as a teacher at a local Head Start, an early childhood education and development program, but was blindsided in October 2019 when she received notice that she would be laid off.
“I didn’t know if I’d be back to work soon or at all, they just told me it was until further notice,” she says.
While Collins waited to hear back from her former employer, she got a call from a friend she went to church with.
“She was telling me about the jobs you could do from home through Teleworks USA,” she says, adding that while she’d heard of Teleworks before she was never confident in its authenticity.
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.
Unfortunately, Collins was at the end of her rope. Being two months behind on her house payment thanks to her layoff had put her family in jeopardy of losing their home, not to mention the other bills and life necessities that were going unpaid. In December, she made a trip to the Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) Digital Career Center in Manchester to talk with Teleworks USA Hub Manager Amy Nunn about her options.
“Amy took all my paperwork and did everything that she could to speed the process up,” Collins says. “She has no idea how much I appreciate all of her help because I know she took her own time to help make this happen.”
Nunn helped Collins with her résumé and to apply for a number of available positions with telework companies across the globe. On December 30, Collins was officially hired with Teleperformance as a customer service agent for one of the company’s clients.
Teleperformance was able to provide Collins with all the equipment she would need for her home office, including computer and dual monitors.
“With Head Start, I’m going to be honest, as a teacher I didn’t make much after my cuts. Now, I bring almost double what I made before just from working from home,” she says, adding that with her first paycheck from Teleperformance alone she was able to catch up every bill she and her family had fallen behind on.
“This job, it has really, really helped financially in every way,” Collins continues. “When the bills come in, I’ve got no worries because they’re for that month, and, now that I have this job, I don’t have that fear that something’s going to fall behind.”
Anxiety over medical costs have also been lessened thanks to her new job, Collins says, now that she can afford a family plan for not just health insurance, but also vision and dental–something she never thought she’d be able to do.
“I didn’t go to the doctor or the dentist before like I do now, because I couldn’t afford it,” she admits. “I don’t have that fear now that I’m going to have to set up payments, or not even go, and before, I’ll be honest, I really did have that.”
Collins urges anyone who is interested in teleworking or working from home to give Teleworks USA a shot.
“If I would have found out about it sooner, I would have jumped sooner,” she says. “It’s really made a difference in my life.”
For more information and Teleworks USA and where to find your nearest Hub, go to www.TeleworksUSA.com.
Since 2015, Teleworks USA Hubs in Hazard, Hyden, Annville, Beattyville, Booneville, Harlan, Louisa, 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.