Working on The Frontlines: How Nkrumah Supports His Community During COVID-19

Working on The Frontlines: How Nkrumah Supports His Community During COVID-19

01/14/2021

As a Community Engagement Specialist with New York City’s Test & Trace Corps, Nkrumah is on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic, saving lives and working to stop the spread.

Nkrumah, a participant at The Fortune Society with a background in social services and HIV/AIDS outreach, found his job through Fortune’s Employment Services. When Nkrumah first came to Fortune in the Spring of 2019, he needed help expressing his extensive professional background and skills in interviews and his resume.

Through job readiness workshops, internships, mock interviews, and more, Fortune’s Employment Services programs equip people who are formerly incarcerated with the tools to obtain employment and thrive in the workplace. From April-November 2020, Fortune placed 159 people in jobs and provided 1,352 individuals with job support services.

“When I came to the job-readiness program, the trainers there, they gave us some skills,” he said. “I really thank Fortune for actually giving me knowledge as relates to interviewing.”

Fortune’s Employment Services helped Nkrumah highlight his skills and sharpen his interviewing, and also sent Nkrumah’s resume to the Test and Trace program. After completing training and certification from Johns Hopkins University, he started his job in June.

Every day, Nkrumah calls or visits New Yorkers who have tested positive for COVID-19. He primarily works in Brooklyn, empowering the community he lives in with accurate information about COVID-19. He informs them about quarantine protocol and resources for accessing essential items while isolating.

“It’s [important] for us as community engagement specialists to be competent, updated, and aware …As first responders, we are actually running towards [the virus] to help people be safe,” he said.

Nkrumah is proud of the role that he plays in combatting the virus and protecting his fellow community members. He is a source of reassurance and support for people when they need it most.

“The most fulfilling part of my job is seeing clients who think that no one cares [about them],” he said. “I have had clients mention to me that they appreciate what we’re doing… That is the single biggest success.”

Recently, Nkrumah was promoted to work on a project to develop a COVID-19 call center that supports schools and administrators. He is also pursuing his MBA. Because of his work in the Test and Trace program, he is considering continuing to work in public health and stopping the spread of COVID-19.

“Every day going to work, I feel like I'm making some difference,” he said.

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