Shirley Marshall: "OJ gave me the confidence to say, ‘I can do this.’"
Shirley Marshall was 23 years old when she first heard about Opportunity Junction. Like many young adults today, Shirley finished high school adrift, disillusioned, and unsure about the right next steps for her.
"I was a good student through elementary and middle school,” Shirley shares, “but things changed when I started high school. I ended up graduating from a continuation school a year late. Shirley continues, “I felt like I was drifting, doing only the bare minimum, and waiting to get out of the system. When I graduated, I just stayed home. For three years, I lived in my house in a state of depression. I felt like I had no skills and no plan. That time just blurs together and every minute of it was wasted." One day, Shirley decided it was time for something different.
“I was 22 with nothing to show for it. I was tired of just existing.” Shirley started sending out applications for any job she thought she might get: retail, food service, anything that only required basic skills. This was the first job she ever applied for, and no one responded. "I tried for months and couldn’t get a call back for a single interview. When one employer eventually left me a voicemail, I waited too long to return the call and missed the opportunity. I was disappointed in myself for not remaining diligent. I decided then to stick to my goals so that I could be successful."
It was then that her mother told her about Opportunity Junction. “My mom came with me the first time I went to the office. I felt welcomed there and thought the people were really great. But honestly, I wasn’t sure if they had something for someone my age. Most of the people I saw in training were much older than I was.”
Shirley thrived in the training earning four Microsoft Office Specialist Certifications in Word, Excel, Outlook, and PowerPoint. Despite her skills, she remained unsure of her place in the job market and felt discouraged applying for the same positions as fellow classmates with more experience and education behind them.
Shirley was thinking that she would never find something when Opportunity Junction recommended her for a position with a staffing agency employer partner. “I’ve been in my position for more than a year, and I have learned so much about the company. Six months into the temporary role, BMW Concord hired me permanently. I am picking up more responsibility and am eager to see what happens next as the company expands. “Because of OJ, I believe in myself and got a job that reflects my intelligence and my potential. I still have a long way to go, but OJ gave me the confidence to say, ‘I can do this.’”