Jamelah Yoakum, a resilient individual with a passion for healthcare, embarked on a journey filled with challenges and triumphs. Two years ago, she set her sights on a career in the medical field, enrolling in a certification class. However, tragedy struck when she faced the loss of her brother to a senseless act of violence. Despite the heartbreak, with time Jamelah persisted and joined the CareerWork$ Medical program at SE Works in Portland, OR, where she balanced rigorous coursework with her job as a makeup artist.  During the 8 week program, Jamelah encountered yet another devastating setback as she lost another brother to an untimely death. Overwhelmed with grief, she contemplated dropping out of the program. However, with unwavering support from her Instructor, Valerie Harris, Jamelah found the strength to persevere. Despite the immense emotional burden she carried, Jamelah pressed on, impressing Valerie with her resilience and determination.

It is in recognition of her remarkable journey that Valerie nominated Jamelah for the Marc Hill Rising Star Award. The Marc Hill Rising Star Award recognizes a graduate of our BankWork$ or CareerWork$ Medical® programs each quarter who has shown significant personal growth and transformation from the start of their class until their graduation. Each award recipient receives a certificate and a cash award to enhance the start of their new career. The award is an integral part of CareerWork$’s ongoing effort to create pathways to meaningful careers. It also honors the life, work, and legacy of the late Marc Hill, who was an instructor for both the BankWork$ and CareerWork$® Ready programs at YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish. Marc passed away in late 2020, but the lessons he shared with his students epitomize our organizational values: respect, collaboration, equity, and inclusion.

Today, Jamelah proudly serves as a Treatment Assistant at Central City Concern, where her compassion and dedication shine through in her work. Jamelah remains grateful for Valerie who fought for her to follow through with the program despite the immense challenges.  Recently, the CareerWork$ and SE Works teams surprised Jamelah with a virtual celebration call.  Reflecting on her journey, CareerWork$ National Director Latoya Edmond praised Jamelah’s unwavering commitment to her goals and said “It’s unfortunate situations that, when they happen, show us how strong we can be.  You know that nothing can stop you if you continue to show up every day like you did with this program”. This month is Jamelah’s brother’s birthday month, and being recognized today holds extra significance for Jamelah.  Jamelah R. Yoakum’s journey serves as a testament to the human spirit’s capacity to overcome even the most formidable challenges. Her story inspires us all to persevere in the pursuit of our dreams, no matter the obstacles we face.

CareerWork$ Announces Jamelah Yoakum as the Newest Recipient of the Marc Hill Rising Star Award 

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