How one job seeker found hope through employment.

Chelsea loved her past work in radiology. But radiology jobs were harder to find after serving time in prison. “I had a pretty good career but things went downhill,” Chelsea explained recently.

As she was preparing for parole, Chelsea struggled with an uncertain future and few prospects for employment. “Even if I could take my boards again and even if they approved me to get my license, where am I going to get a job,” Chelsea wondered. “I don’t know if people understand how hard it is when you get out [of prison] and you don’t have any support. You don’t ever think you’re going to get a life again.”

Chelsea soon found the support she needed when she connected with Bridge of Hope, an Activate employer partner, and joined Activate’s workforce readiness program. Activate staff members helped Chelsea draft a resume and coached her through mock interviews, and they collaborated on a letter for potential employers explaining her past convictions.

Between her past healthcare experience, as well as construction training and an electrical certification that Chelsea received while in prison, she and the Activate team narrowed down on potential jobs, and Chelsea’s coach advocated to potential employers on her behalf. Even with all the preparation, Chelsea still wondered who would hire a candidate like her and whether she would find a sustainable, long-term opportunity.

“We endorse individuals and help them develop a career plan,” explained Helen Young Hayes, founder and CEO of Activate Workforce Solutions. “We connect job-ready, job-eager jobseekers with full-time, full-benefit careers at leading businesses in Denver.”

All of Chelsea’s work recently paid off when she accepted a job at Denver Health, one of Activate’s largest employer partners, as a central supply technician, a career that she once thought was out of reach. Chelsea’s opportunity is part of Denver Health’s broader commitment to provide first opportunities and second chances to people – a core aspect of their anchor institution initiative.

“I have no idea how I got so lucky,” Chelsea shared. “I know I couldn’t have done it without Activate.”

She’s grateful to work with an amazing and welcoming team, and Chelsea credits Activate with equipping her with the skills – and the confidence – to pursue such a life-changing opportunity.

While currently training for her new role and helping her daughter prepare to be a mom later this year, Chelsea also wants to pay it forward for other women like her: “I want to be a mentor when women get out of prison,” Chelsea shared. “I want to give other women hope. I don’t have to be defined by being in prison.”

Even though Chelsea loves her new job, she already has her next step in mind: she plans to eventually study for and complete the radiology exam, and she hopes to renew her license and pursue a career back in radiology someday. “Activate opened the door for so many opportunities,” Chelsea said. “I can rebuild my life, and I can get into radiology again.”

Chelsea isn’t just grateful for the staff at Activate and the guidance they offered; she understands there’s a network of donors, partner organizations, and community leaders cheering her on. “I want to thank the people who support Activate,” Chelsea said. “It gave me a new life.”