Women in Manufacturing: D’Andra King’s Journey

D'Andra King JARC program
D'Andra King, JARC program graduate. Photo courtesy of Jane Addams Resource Corporation

Jane Addams Resource Corporation is a 2019 grantee in the Christopher Family Foundation’s Employment & Entrepreneurship program area. This story was written by D’Andra King, a JARC program graduate, and contributed by JARC staff.

My name is D’Andra King. In 2015, I enrolled in the Jane Addams Resource Corporation (JARC) Computer Numerical Control (CNC) job training program.

Before I came to JARC, I was a cashier, tax preparer, babysitter, home health aide, warehouse worker, and housekeeper. But I wanted more. I was born and raised on the south side of Chicago, but I have to admit I didn’t graduate from high school. I had to deal with life. My mother and father were both alcoholics. I didn’t have the opportunities I’d hoped for.

There are a lot of things in my life I didn’t get a chance to finish, so when I was given the opportunity to train at JARC, I took it. And what I got was a lot more than job training. I learned how to have confidence in myself. I learned how to pay my bills from people who did not judge me. I got a chance to set a goal and finish it.

We were treated like employees, and JARC was the employer. Our attendance, attitude, and ability were everything. I dedicated myself to the training. What’s my biggest weakness? My fear of failure.

Today I have enough confidence to say that there’s not a job I don’t think I wouldn’t get. I learned how to use the internet, how to research a company, write a cover letter, write the thank you, find out how long it takes to get to an interview, and how much I need to earn. I was grateful for the support that I got. Like a bus card. Like help dealing with the news my mom was sick. But I still had work to do at JARC. And the support was there.

I was so happy when I got a full-time job at S&C Electric, where my mom used to work. I’ve been there a year now. I accomplished my goal! Here’s what I want to do: Pay it forward. I’d rather help that one than not to help anybody at all.