Katie-Leigh Dwinells:

Perseverance Pays Off

When Katie-Leigh began working with Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor Genia Hachenburg in January 2019, she was stuck. The 100% service-connected disabled Coast Guard veteran had been through a series of layoffs, moves, and “last cuts” after multiple-rounds of interviews. Like many veterans, she found short-term and part-time employment, but struggled to find meaningful, fulfilling employment. Worse, she would interview for similar positions with companies only to be told that she was either “under qualified” or “overqualified.”
 
Genia and Katie-Leigh worked on her resume, networking, and, most importantly, exploring the type of work and type of employer where she could thrive. To make ends meet along the way, Katie-Leigh took evening and part-time work to fill gaps and continue her professional development.
 
After several months and several unsuccessful interviews with large employers, Genia and Katie-Leigh shifted to exploring opportunities with the local county government, which they thought would be a better fit for Katie-Leigh. Genia engaged local county human resources staff to explain her role with PVA and discuss their veteran hiring programs. Katie-Leigh identified several positions that appealed to her and applied online.
 
Katie-Leigh’s hard work paid-off in September, when she accepted a position as a Customer Service Technician with Pinellas County, in the Office of Charles Thomas, County Tax Collector. 
 
Throughout her job search, she never let up on her efforts to network, apply for positions, or work on her professional development. Katie-Leigh shared, “my experience with PAVE has been wonderful! I really enjoy my job with the Pinellas County Tax Collector and you all have helped me stay positive and motivated not to give up on myself.” Genia will continue to work with Katie-Leigh as she progresses in her career and will provide her with support as she needs it.