Frances Rivera-Biaggi

Gateway’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Employment & Training Program (SNAP E&T) wasn’t the first rung on Frances Rivera-Biaggi’s corporate ladder, nor will it be the last!

SNAP helps low-income individuals and families buy healthy food. SNAP E&T is a tuition-free job-readiness program providing vocational training, career activities, and support services to SNAP beneficiaries. It offers education and/or certification in several occupations, including bookkeeper, business office professional, medical office assistant, community health worker, emergency medical responder, and pharmacy technician. Frances’ path to Gateway’s SNAP E&T Program this past August was a unique one. A goal-directed and determined young woman, she already had earned a bachelor’s degree in 2015 and was enrolled in an MBA program. She was attending classes and working as a bank teller, both part-time, when she became pregnant with her first son, who was born in March 2016. She transferred to an accelerated MBA program, and her second son was born in 2017. Being both a full-time student and stay-at-home Mom to two young children was challenging. Frances had to quit her job and apply for SNAP benefits. She persisted with her studies and describes getting her MBA in 2018 as a “huge accomplishment.”

With no recent work history, finding employment in her field was difficult, however, even with a four-year degree and an MBA, so Frances took a sales job at Best Buy. Her sons’ father suggested she apply for an operations manager position at Michael’s, the same chain he worked for. It was another rung up the ladder, but not her “dream job”: Senior Operations Manager at Amazon.

‘I’m gaining skills at Gateway that translate directly to the workforce.’

Frances Rivera-Biaggi

Frances applied, unsuccessfully, for several Amazon positions. One requirement was often Six Sigma Certification, a method to improve business processes. Frances remembered reading about GCC’s tuition-free SNAP E&T Program. One of the Business Professional and Office Assistant Training Certification courses was Six Sigma White Belt Certification. She started the program in August, taking the Six Sigma class first, and was hired as an Amazon Area Manager in North Haven just last month. She now works three 12-hour weekend overnight shifts and will finish the SNAP E&T Program in December.

“I’m gaining skills at Gateway that translate directly to the workforce,” she explains. “I’m learning what I need to get what I want.” She plans to continue climbing that corporate ladder at Amazon; next Operations Manager, then Senior Operations Manager – the dream job!

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