From Babysitting to Accounting: Dahiana’s Story

Career Directions program participant Dahiana Caro (pictured above, right) was recently awarded the Outstanding Program Participant Award at the New York City Employment & Training Coalition’s 2016 Opportunity Awards. Since completing Madison Strategies Group’s 4-day Career Readiness Training in 2011, Dahiana has worked tirelessly to move from underemployment to working as an Accountant at a charitable trust firm and sharing her dream home on Long Island with her husband and their young twins.

To hear Dahiana’s incredible journey, watch the following video or continue reading the text below.

Dahiana was referred to MSG from community partner New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG), desperate to escape the low-wage, off-the-books jobs she had been working since coming to the US from Paraguay. She worked in finance in her home country but found the field impossible to access in the US, so she was considering changing jobs but didn’t know what to do. MSG helped her sit down and focus on her core skills, which were in accounting and office administration, and helped build up her confidence, both in her work experience as well as her English skills. At the end of her one-week training with MSG, there was a noticeable shift in her confidence, and she was proudly declaring, “I am bilingual!” in mock interviews.

Post-training, Dahiana was told in an interview that she would never get a job in a bank because her experience was out of date. Inside, she wanted to cry, but she met with Director of Business Services David Weinholtz and told him, “At least I got to practice my interview skills. Please let me know if you hear of anything else and I’ll keep on trying.” Impressed, David offered her an interview with a new employer partner, Helmsley Charitable Trust, based on her positive attitude and the way she conducted herself.

Dahiana accepted, but almost changed her mind once she saw the job description– Half of it was tasks or skills she didn’t understand. MSG helped her decipher the job description and also understand that she was, in fact, qualified for this position. There was one requirement, though, that she didn’t meet: She had never used QuickBooks. MSG staff helped her download the software and online tutorial, and advised she spend that weekend studying. At the interview on Monday for a financial administrative assistant position, when asked if she knew the accounting software, she replied, “I do,” and passed the assessment they gave her.

Dahiana was hired, and has been promoted twice since then, to Junior Accountant and now Accountant; she now makes $20k more than her initial hire salary. In the meantime, Dahiana gave birth to premature twins with a genetic disorder who are now thriving; worked with her husband to save up enough money to buy and move into their dream home; and completed two certificate programs in accounting at Baruch and NYU. With her eye on achieving her CPA next, Dahiana is a perfect example of an MSG candidate: Tireless, hard-working, and unstoppable. 

Madison Strategies is honored to work alongside inspiring participants like Dahiana each day. To support our participants in their efforts to transform their lives, click here to make a donation today

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