Jobs to Build On… Moving Forward and Up!

Over the last decade, the New York City Council has helped 20,000 NYC residents get a great job through the Jobs to Build On (JtBO) program; 85% of participants are people of color and 60% are women. Of the courageous and determined participants in the SoBro/JtBO program collaboration, we didn’t have to look too far to see a particularly shining result of the initiative than SoBro Business Analyst, Shameeda Bachus. In September 2017, Shameeda found herself six months into same position many do looking for work in New York City’s uber-competitive job market, when, for a multitude of reasons, there is a gap in their resume: the phone just wasn’t ringing.

With her associates degree in hand, Shameeda began working in accounting positions in 1998, and by 2001 she had completed her Bachelors of Accounting at Monroe College. “People say they don’t like accounting, but I like numbers. You never get bored with accounting.” In late 2014 she was laid off and not too long after, her mother fell ill. It was decided among her siblings that since she was already home, she would be the one to take over her mother’s care. After her mother’s death three years later, Shameeda resumed her search for employment, only she found that the traditional job search methods such as Monster and Career Builder had become outdated and were not yielding interviews for positions she felt matched her qualifications.

Believing there was a better way, Shameeda attended a college job fair at her alma mater, Monroe College. There she met a SoBro recruiter who read her resume and encouraged her that she would find work after a brief skills refresher in the SoBro National Retail Federation (NRF) customer service program. Shameeda was surprised to find that,  even though she’d already worked for several years in accounting, she was learning many customer service concepts and techniques. As recently as a week before we’d spoke for this interview, she related an exchange she’d had with an upset credit client that she’d handled with a greater courtesy and composure than she felt she would have prior to the NRF training.

After her successful completion of the customer service training, Shameeda was invited to apply for a position in SoBro’s Credit Department. “I was so surprised when Joseph told me that I’d been hired and I started the very next day!” Shameeda has been working as a business analyst since January 23, 2018, and she is happy and thankful that she found out about SoBro’s program offerings. “I am working again and I’m continuing to grow more and learn new things. SoBro is a great organization, doing great things. I always have it in mind, especially when I see young people. At SoBro, I love seeing the students, who would otherwise be just hanging out, are getting help and continuing their education. SoBro is a great place for people to start over. The people are fair and nice and willing to help.”

“Hiring Shameeda was a happy instance of her being in the right place at the right time, and one that is very much in line with the JtBO mission to usher individuals continuing on the path to full-time and fulfilling employment,” said Shameeda’s manager, Sharon Higgins, SoBro MBDE Project Director. “Shameeda is very talented and it is a pleasure to work with her every day. I am here to support her to developing and building skills that will help her to find her way back to work that aligns with her accounting aspirations and skills.“


SoBRO’s mission is to enhance the quality of life in the South Bronx by strengthening businesses and creating innovative economic, housing, educational, and career development programs for youth and adults.

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