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Phoenix 'SOAR' program helps people find careers

Posted at 5:22 AM, Dec 19, 2018
and last updated 2019-01-15 08:02:36-05

PHOENIX — The game of life is full of ups and downs, but one Phoenix program wants to make sure you do not struggle alone.

"It's resources that are available that we didn't know about," said LaBaron Simpson, Jr. "I didn't know that there were cheat codes out here and people willing to help."

Simpson is a participant in ARIZONA@WORK's SOAR program.

"Job seekers don't get ready. They stay ready," said SOAR Work Readiness Instructor Neva Smith.

She teaches the week-long course that is free and tailored to each student.

"SOAR is geared for people who want to change their life through work," Smith went on to explain. "People who want to upgrade your skills. You could be someone with a degree, lose your job and because the climate of the workforce has changed - need a skills upgrade."

Smith said she was seen people come into the course from 18-years-old to 72-years-old.

"A single word can give a person hope," Smith explained. "Just letting a person know that you believe in them and helping them find their gold nuggets within them gives value to the person."

Simpson said this course has given him clarity for his life and given him the confidence to search for a career, not just a job.

He mentioned to us, his dream was to get his truck driver license or become a barber.

"... Which is mainly what I think I'm going to go with," Simpson said.

His participation in SOAR is not only giving him job training. It may also give him career connections.

Lana Cantrell went through the program herself back in 2013. Since her graduation from SOAR, she started Barber Intelligence, which is an apprentice program.

"I had an idea," Cantrell described. "My heart is really big... I created a program that everyone who wants to be apart of the profession can apply and be trained and get paid training."

She now offers that training to people who need a fresh start by creating fresh cuts for other people. She hopes to continue giving back with her business, giving free haircuts to veterans and offering training for those who are willing to put in the work - maybe even someone like Simpson.

If you would like to learn more about the free SOAR Work Readiness Class, click here.