Community Impact Faces of Success: Sierra Utley
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Faces of Success: Sierra Utley

The financial burden of college is often daunting for students about to graduate high school. Many students find themselves worried about where to go to, what to study, and how to support themselves through their years in college. Sierra Utley was a high school senior who found herself struggling with these similar issues.

“I was getting ready to start school at Nashville State. I had been looking for a job for months and I had not been able to find one. At this point, I did not have enough money to buy books so I decided to withdraw from school so I could find a job and give myself time to save money.”

After struggling with which steps to take next, Sierra's friend told her about the Oasis Transitions Youth Employment Program and encouraged her to attend a session. Oasis Transitions is a workforce development program for youth between the ages of 14 and 24 years old that are involved or at risk of becoming involved in the criminal justice system. This program assists them in achieving their educational, career and employment goals. The program emphasizes career-focused education, training and workforce development. While working with a dedicated team of Oasis Transitions staff, youth are assisted in attaining their goals through a variety of services. Sierra has been attending Oasis Transitions meetings every week for the past two years.

“I started going to the sessions and learned how to get a job. They helped prepare me with mock interviews, resume reviews, and talked to me about appropriate work attire. Finding a job isn’t always easy but after going to Oasis Transitions sessions, I finally landed an internship.”

Sierra was hired for an eight week communications and marketing internship at Dugard Communications. After the eight weeks concluded, Sierra was asked to stay and work a full-time position.

“I was more than excited when I found out that I got the job. I have almost enough money saved to buy a car and I plan on getting an apartment next year when I start school at Nashville State. Working in marketing has made me realize that I want to major in it. I am going to continue to work here through college and they are allowing me to make my work schedule around my classes. A lot of people don’t believe me when I tell them I am only 19 and work a full-time job in an office. Aside from going to school, my five-year plan is to gain as much experience as possible. I just want to better educate myself in the communications field. I was so worried when I got out of high school. I had no idea what I was going to do but Oasis Transitions has helped me so much. If it weren’t for the amazing staff there helping me along the way, I would not be where I am today.”

When you give to United Way, you are helping young adults like Sierra on a pathway to success.


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