Unrecognized Skills

Carlton Johnson
Carlton Johnson

For some people in D.C., there is no amount of experience that can guarantee employment. With an endless amount of untapped potential, many people experiencing homelessness in D.C. have the skills necessary to be a strong member of the workforce. These people have worked a variety of jobs and have developed countless hard and soft skills. Some individuals have vast customer service, sales, and retail experience. Other people have substantial inventory, money management, finance, and secretarial backgrounds. Still others have impressive culinary, construction, and engineering skills. Individuals currently experiencing homelessness have worked in places ranging from the United States government to a family-run construction business. In D.C., too many people are unable to find employment despite strong skills and past work experience.


“They’re the easiest types of jobs for me to get right now”

Marie Wills describes her experience working retail jobs. Wills discusses the role that her past work experience plays in finding work.


“We are professional advocates and lecturers”

Robert Warren describes the skills associated with being a housing advocate. Warren details the skills he has developed through trainings.


“I try to read everything I can get my hands on”

Ron VerQuer recounts his educational background. VerQuer discusses the skills he needed in order to do the type of work he was interested in.


“I’m very creative”

Jeff Taylor outlines his hard and soft skills. Taylor describes his role as a flexible team player.


“I was always on the Internet”

Patty Smith describes learning how to use the Internet to conduct job searches. Smith remembers using the Internet to develop her skills.


“I was a case manager for five nursing homes”

Joseph Slovinec recounts his past work experience. Slovinec describes how his past work experience helped him develop skills.


“Common sense, skill, and being a diligent worker”

Eric Sheptock believes his ability to gain employment is largely due to his approach to work. Sheptock discusses how his work ethic has benefitted him on the job.


“I just picked up my certificate”

Kanie Pendarvis discusses his educational background and past work experience. Pendarvis describes other certification programs he has participated in.


“I’m waiting for the right contract to pick up my resume”

Carlton Johnson discusses his past and present work experience. Johnson describes the varied skills he has acquired through work.


“I was working two…three different jobs”

Jamal Francis details the minimum wage jobs he worked in the past. Francis describes the skills he gained despite being unable to make ends meet.


“I did a lot of secretarial work”

Aida Basnight recounts her past work experience in New York City and Chicago, IL. Basnight discusses her secretarial skills.


“I’ve done almost everything under the sun”

Monseur Alli describes working since he was ten years old. Alli describes his past work experience and the skills he learned on each job.