Juana builds a career to support her family

Juana enrolled in Takoda Works’ BUILD program to build skills and find employment.

Samantha Fairbanks, Social Worker 

Juana, a mother of two, was working at McDonalds for 9 years. She eventually earned a manager position making $12.05 an hour, but Juana wanted to build a career—somewhere she could make enough money to support her family.  

Juana came to Takoda through the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP), and she was referred to the BUILD program by her case manager. The BUILD program is an intensive work program to help Native youth build work and life skills. The first 7 weeks consisted of life skills training and work ethics. The participants were then placed into a 9-week internship in the community.  

Juana was a great asset to the program. She was always on time and prompt and eventually began helping staff set up programming. She even took it upon herself to organize the BUILD program’s graduation party. She was always willing to help. In addition to the BUILD program, Juana completed Takoda Institute’s IT Fundamentals course and earned an industry certificate in Customer Service. 

The internship is where Juana started to bloom. She organized her own internship with Baby Space where she helped watch the children and did office work on the side. Her supervisor spoke very highly of her and always gave her an excellent review. From the beginning, her supervisor knew she wanted to hire Juana to work for Baby Space. She told their board, “if we don’t hire her, someone else will.”  

As soon as her internship ended, Juana was hired on full time as an Administrative Assistant at Baby Space making $15 an hour. She has been with Baby Space for over 2 months and eventually will begin training in Early Childhood education with the company to expand her career.  

 Takoda and the BUILD program not only helped Juana prepare for a career, but helped her find a job in a company that values her growth and potential. “Thank you for telling my story. I really appreciated everything you did for me and bettering my life for my little family,” says Juana.