The Opportunity to Serve, Share, and Encourage

vsmartInspired by a purpose beyond herself, her actions set out to enrich the lives of others. She acts in a way that is selfless in order to care for and encourage her family and the community. The two words that best describe the actions of Ward 5 resident, Twila Norris, are servant leader. Her willingness to give of herself can be seen in her role as a wife, mom to nine children, caregiver, and volunteer. Ms. Norris’s servant leader characteristics were at the forefront of her decision to look for a good part-time job when her husband became disabled. After hearing about the job opportunities and training at Ohio Means Jobs because of the additional funding dollars from the Opportunity Corridor Project, Ms. Norris plotted a course for a part-time job that would allow her to continue being a caregiver at home. Little did she know that this new role would give her the opportunity to serve and encourage others.

In January 2016, Ms. Norris was connected with Employment Specialist, Alaryce Shea, at Ohio Means Jobs. After the initial paperwork, the training and assessments started and would increase Ms. Norris’s knowledge and opportunity for employment. Because of the training, Ms. Norris stated, “I’ve learned a lot of new things especially how to create a new formal résumé format.” Now she has new knowledge to share and help others. She also praises the WorkKeys® job skill training assessment tests. “The tests are used to measure real-world skills, so you and potential employers can find careers best suited to your skills,” said Ms. Norris. Because of the WorkKeys® assessment and assistance from Sonya Gant, Business Services Consultant/Recruiter for Ohio Means Jobs, Ms. Norris was able to obtain a position as an AmeriCorps member which matched her skill sets.

Serving as an AmeriCorps member with Burten, Bell, Carr Development, Inc. and the Cleveland Housing Network has given Ms. Norris the opportunity to improve the life within her community. This new role has also helped Ms. Norris stay focused, prioritized, and she has acquired a lot of new knowledge that keeps her up to date with the developments in technology. Because of this experience, Ms. Norris is sharing the information about Ohio Means Jobs with her community.

In her spare time, Ms. Norris is working on her Bachelor’s degree at the American Public University and expects to be done this July 2016. She’s learned a lot from life’s experiences and is the first to admit that sometimes things do not turn out the way we might plan. However, “we must stay focused, not give up on ourselves, and no matter what… see things through to the end,” said Ms. Norris.

Ohio Means Jobs with the help of the Opportunity Corridor Roadway Project wants to give every resident the opportunity to increase and share his or her skills sets just like Ms. Norris.

For more stories like this one and to find out additional information about the Opportunity Corridor go to