“For the past year and a half, I’ve been kicked down, thinking ‘Am I going to be stuck in retail for the rest of my life because I’m female? Did I go to school for nothing? Will I ever be able to provide for my children?’ … THRIVE has given me hope.”
Meaghan Benoit felt defeated.
She held a low-paying retail job, but she couldn’t find a way to break through the ceiling. She thought education toward a process solutions degree might help, but her lack of experience kept her from breaking into the oil-field industry.
“I busted myself,” she said. “I was barely sleeping, I was always studying. I got to graduation. I knew that it would take time. I figured if they were putting so much money into these school systems, there had to be a job for me.”
There wasn’t. A combination of a lack of experience and a downturn in the economy meant she couldn’t get her boot in the door. So Meaghan had to sit down with her family and come up with a plan.
“I had nine years with the same company, but I was still barely above minimum wage. I had a degree that wasn’t leading anywhere.”
She tried entry-level manual labor next, but Meaghan struggled to find a hiring manager that believed, in her words, that she could perform as well as a man. It was rejection notices and no thank yous for 18 miserable months.
“Am I going to be stuck in retail for the rest of my life because I’m female? Did I go to school for nothing?” she thought to herself. “Will I ever be able to provide for my children? If my car breaks down, will I ever have the money in my account to fix it? When I get ready to retire, am I going to have to work until the day that I die because I wasn’t able to put back anything to live on?”
Then one day she saw an email about the THRIVE program. She was understandably skeptical.
“It’s probably another dead end, but let me go,” she said.
But what gave her a glimmer of hope was that it was specifically set for women. So she called – 15 times each day, in fact – and when she saw the opportunity in front of her, she knew this was her chance.
“It’s given me hope. I can grow and I have an opportunity where, when I can run after it, I can get there. They will instill in me what I need to be successful. I have the opportunity to build a career.”
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