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How Angel Used the Skills Network to Get Back to Work

Angel at a hiring event

“I love Skills, because they really set up the employee for the employer.”

Angel Lewis, now a teller at Bank of America, has had quite the employment journey. Despite facing unimaginable roadblocks that affected her employment and educational pursuits, she successfully persevered and now has a career within a company where she sees the potential to grow.

Originally from Chicago’s south side neighborhood of Auburn-Gresham, Angel began her employment path over 15 years ago at a local vocational school, which set her up for an apprenticeship in construction. After realizing this field wasn’t really in her wheelhouse, she enrolled in the computer science program at Westwood University. Shortly after enrolling, she changed her major to electrical engineering, and decided to transfer to East-West University’s program.

Not too long after enrolling at East-West, Angel became pregnant with her daughter, and planned to continue at school for the remainder of the year. However, unfortunately, her doctor classified her pregnancy as “high-risk”, and strongly advised that she postpone school and stay on bedrest. After her daughter was born, Angel made the decision to completely focus on providing for her daughter by putting her education on hold – she took a job at the Horseshoe Casino, where she worked the overnight “graveyard” shift, with the hopes of this position being just temporary. After getting into more of an established routine with caring for her daughter while working, she enrolled at the University of Phoenix online, allowing her to pursue her degree while still employed full-time.

In the midst of juggling school, work, and raising her daughter, Angel started to feel intense headaches and migraines, which she initially thought were due to stress as a result of her busy schedule. However, the frequency and intensity of these headaches greatly increased, so she went to the doctor, and was later diagnosed with Neurosarcoidosis, a rare and debilitating disease that causes inflammation in the brain. Soon after receiving this diagnosis, Angel had to abide to a strict medication regimen, which significantly set her back in school and her pursuit of a new career. The stress of this increasingly busy schedule of working the night shift, doctor visits, and childcare ultimately led to the HorseShoe Casino laying her off for missing too many shifts.

This motivated Angel fully pursue a career at a company that allowed for the potential to grow – after a couple months of searching and interviewing with no job offers, Angel came across Skills for Chicagoland’s Future, who connected her with Bank of America to interview as a teller. Before the interview, she met with a Skills recruiter to prepare for her meeting with the potential employer. After feeling more prepared, Angel interviewed for the position and was offered the position the next day.

“Because my responsibilities during the eleven years I was employed at the casino were very similar to that of a bank teller, I thought getting a new job would be easy,” explained Angel. “Turns out, getting into the right company was quite difficult, even with the right experience. I was happy to have found Skills – the recruiter was very thorough with interview prep, which helped me land the job in the end.”

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