The flight from Miami to Seattle takes seven hours, crosses 11 states and covers 2,724 miles. It is the longest route in the contiguous United States, and for Yvette George, it was the first step toward a new life.
Miami’s high crime rate and a poor job market spurred Yvette’s move to the Northwest 10 months ago. When she touched down in Seattle, Yvette was optimistic, but had no job and no place of her own. Staying with a friend temporarily, Yvette immediately searched for work and somewhere to live. It didn’t take long to find the Metropolitan Improvement District and Jobs Connect. Yvette was immediately hired.
After the turbulence of life in Miami and a jarring, cross-continent leap, her new position provided stability, relief and a steady income.
“The MID built me back up; it helped me back up,” says Yvette.
Her first Jobs Connect training task was learning to log information at MID headquarters and memorizing the dispatch codes. Next, she was outside emptying Big Belly solar garbage cans, then cleaning alleys and finally back to headquarters for the last training step: coordinating staff over the radio. Naturally shy, it wasn’t easy for Yvette to broadcast herself across downtown.
“I was so nervous on the radio I would stutter all the time,” she says.
Her coworkers told her to just imagine she was on the phone. It worked. After completing Jobs Connect training, Yvette applied for ajob with the MID-funded Clean Team.
Sitting across from the three-person interview team, Yvette again overcame her shyness, rattling off her qualifications and dedication to the MID’s work. The position was hers.
“It was a huge boost of confidence” says Yvette.
Now she’s outside five days a week, trekking more than six miles a day..
The average shift is busy. Yvette stops every two or three steps to pick something up, collecting more than 100 gallons of trash and leaves daily. Businesses sometimes leave garbage on the wrong side of the alley, but Yvette diligently organizes the piles for pickup. Cigarette litter is getting worse, and it’s a mystery to her why people don’t use the recycling cans. The same with dog poop. Mutt Mitt bag dispensers are posted around downtown, but plenty of pet owners pass them by.
Does she get tired? Nope.
“There’s no hard part of the job,” Yvette says. “They throw it at me and I get it done.”
Looking back, Yvette is incredibly appreciative of Jobs Connect, the MID and the options available to her in Seattle.
“Here you have resources. In Miami, if you’re homeless, you’re homeless. They have nothing like Jobs Connect.”
And the future is full of potential. Professionally, Yvette has her eye on moving to the MID-funded Safety Team and eventually wants go back to school for her nursing degree. She already has training as a medical assistant.
Outside of work, Yvette would like to learn snowboarding, try hiking and see a waterfall. She lives near the Space Needle, but her apartment doesn’t have kitchen amenities like a stove. Her highest priority is finding a place of her own in Burien or Federal way, where she can cook for herself and get a dog.
“I want to live life, be happy, be healthy. That’s it.”