On-the-Job Training Program
Service to Others Pays Off
Teresa Atkins, is a married mother of two boys aged 7 and 9, who has held down a fulltime career for most of her children’s lives in spite of dealing with the heartbreak and crisis of her younger son having been born with a heart defect.
Atkins has a bachelor’s degree in music, with a master’s degree in therapeutic recreation, which is similar in many ways to occupational therapy. She worked as Activity Director for Mercy Medical for over eight years. As part of her job at Mercy Medical, she worked with hospice patients and helped them to come to term with their end-of-life issues through music and art therapy.
Her son’s need for surgery at that time led to her being out of work for over a year. Her son fully recovered from his heart condition and his mom’s career was quickly in full bloom again as well. Atkins then went to Senior Citizen’s Services, where she worked for the next six years, starting off as their Program Director. In her role as program director, she set up classes and planned trips for the senior citizens, among her many other duties. She also managed a fulltime staff of eleven, along with over thirty volunteers and part-time instructors. Senior Citizen Services then promoted Atkins to the Director of Special Events and Public Relations and in that role, she planned all special events and dealt extensively with marketing, fundraising and working with the local news media. Atkins recalls that a highlight of that role was getting to meet actor Mark Harmon.
Atkins was then promoted to Associate Director at Senior Citizen Services and in this role, she was second-in-command to the Executive Director, was responsible for all new program development and was charged with increasing corporate sponsorship. So while Atkins’ title did not reflect it, she essentially performed the duties that would normally be assigned to a director of development. And in her last position at Senior Citizen Services, she performed extremely well, winning awards and exceeding fundraising goals.
Atkins found she really enjoyed the development aspect of her position and wanted to do more of it. She wanted to gain experience in a field she found rewarding and that matched her talents. That was not possible where she was at, so Atkins began looking for other opportunities and found them at The Centre for the Living Arts.
Atkins applied with Carlos Parkman for her current position as Director of Development and Parkman directed her to go to Mobile Works at the Alabama Career Center to see if she was eligible for the Mobile Works On-the-Job Training program. Atkins did qualify and was hired. In her new role as Director of Development, Atkins manages the capital campaign, works with volunteers and has done some grant-writing. She will be responsible for special events and will be charged with increasing membership and developing an annual fundraising campaign.
Atkins says, “The Mobile Works On-the-Job Training program is wonderful because it lets you get your foot in the door, where you might not get the opportunity otherwise. Then you follow through and prove yourself.” She would tell other jobseekers, “Don’t be discouraged. If you know what you really want to do, be persistent and keep trying. Eventually you will get what you want.”
Atkins is so pleased with how the On-the-Job Training program has worked for her that she not only recommends it to other jobseekers, but to companies she comes into contact with as well.
We at Mobile Works say thank you to Atkins for her long career of helping to make a difference in other people’s lives. She is doing just that in her new role as Development Director at the Centre for the Living Arts, where she works to ensure that the people of Mobile remember the fine arts and develop an appreciation of their cultural heritage.