COURTESY OF TUERE GREATHOUSE
Tuere Greathouse had always wanted to work in IT. "In high school, computers were my thing," the Florissant resident says. "I always loved tearing them apart and putting them back together."
But Greathouse, now 38, ended up working in the accounting field for thirteen years. She had two kids, and though she kept applying for IT jobs, she could never find a way to get her foot in the door, much less take the leap.
A random ad on Craigslist changed that.
The ad was advertising a program called Workforce Opportunity Services, or WOS. The nonprofit agency seeks to connect employers with applicants who are minorities and/or veterans, and then gives those people the support they need to excel at their new job.
Of course it's easy for someone to promise that on Craigslist, and Greathouse admits to being a little bit skeptical. "I thought, 'I've never heard of this company,'" she says. "I did my research. And then I ran it by family members twenty times over — 'Should I do this?' I was so nervous."
Adding to her anxiety was the leap of faith required by the program. A single mom, Greathouse relied upon her job working for the city of St. Louis. She'd have to give that up for a two-month WOS training program, which did not provide full-time pay. Even after that, she'd have to prove herself in a new job.
Backed by her friends and family, she decided to go for it. And today, almost exactly two years later, she says she believes her leap of faith has paid off. She's been steadily employed as an application support specialist at Turner Construction through its WOS consultancy program, and while she still doesn't make quite what she did at City Hall, she's thrilled with what she's learned and the fact she's finally working in her chosen field.
She credits the mentorship and support she's gotten through the WOS program to lead her through the challenges of a new career. "It's been a struggle," she acknowledges. "Leaving for something new is definitely always hard, especially if it's something new that you've never done before. But I'm constantly learning something new every day. And with the knowledge I have, I can take it and go from here. The opportunities are endless."
And even if her son, who is eleven, gripes about how hard Mom is working, her daughter, who's older, is proud. "Wow, mom," she tells Greathouse. "You're going for it. You're doing what you want to do."
Tuere Greathouse is profiled as part of our Change Issue. Check out all the great profiles online here.