The Rapidian Home

My First Job in USA

This dispatch was added by one of our Nonprofit Neighbors. It does not represent the editorial voice of The Rapidian or Community Media Center.

Literacy Center learner shares her story about her first job in the United States
Flor de América Heredia de Javier and her tutor, Barb Foley. They have been meeting since February 2010.

Flor de América Heredia de Javier and her tutor, Barb Foley. They have been meeting since February 2010. /Shay Kraley

Underwriting support from:

Adult Tutoring Program

Can you imagine not being able to read?

You would be unable to order from a menu, complete a job application, navigate the streets of a city or even read to your child. This is the reality for thousands of area adults who have either low literacy skills or do not speak English as their primary language. 

Thanks to the Literacy Center of West Michigan, learning to read is free and available to any adult through our proven Adult Tutoring Program. What’s more, if an adult needs assistance with speaking, writing or comprehending English, our popular English as a Second Language (ESL) tutoring service can help.

The programs are designed to proceed at the learner’s pace. Tutoring can be provided at a time that’s convenient for an individual’s schedule. The weekly two-hour sessions typically extend through a six-month period and take place in public areas like libraries, offices and churches.  All of our volunteer tutors are trained and certified, working closely with Literacy Center staff who have university training in reading and language instruction.

Each month, the Literacy Center of West Michigan's Adult Tutoring Program publishes a newsletter featuring articles written by program learners. The following article was written by Flor de América Heredia de Javier , who is a learner in the Adult Tutoring Program from the Dominican Republic.  To read more of our learner's stories click here.


I am so happy with my first job in America. I worked in my country (Dominican Republic) for 22 years as a teacher and three years as a secretary. Both jobs all the time in different schools. This was one of the reasons why I had to think so much to come to live in the USA, because I didn’t want to leave my job in my country.  However my husband and our two children were here in the USA because my husband wanted to work as a pastor there.

I came to live in America on December 2006. I was looking for a job and I had only some jobs in cleaning houses. I also worked as voluntary teacher’s assistant in the Grand Rapids Adventist Academy.  I wanted a job because I needed money for many things and because I’m accustomed to work. I went to many places looking for a job but I didn’t find anything.

It was in December of 2010 that a friend told me about Williamson Services, Inc. I applied on December 17, and the office called me on December 21 for the interview. I started to work on December 22, 2010.

In the interview they asked me six English questions and I understood it very good. After this personal interview, I answered 90 questions on the computer in English. I want to thank the Literacy Center and my dear teacher, Barb Foley, for their dedication and help. Now I can understand better. Before I was not confident, but she speaks to me every time, and this is so good.

The name of the company where I work is Kentwood Powder Coat. In my work I clean bathrooms, offices, the kitchen, and the break room. Some people are so nice and talk to me in English and I can talk to them in English too.

This is a good beginning. My goal is to continue improving my English skills.

The Rapidian, a program of the 501(c)3 nonprofit Community Media Center, relies on the community’s support to help cover the cost of training reporters and publishing content.

We need your help.

If each of our readers and content creators who values this community platform help support its creation and maintenance, The Rapidian can continue to educate and facilitate a conversation around issues for years to come.

Please support The Rapidian and make a contribution today.

Comments, like all content, are held to The Rapidian standards of civility and open identity as outlined in our Terms of Use and Values Statement. We reserve the right to remove any content that does not hold to these standards.