“Strength in community is being resilient and persistent. Even though we have challenges and we might not agree with each other, just finding a middle ground to find a solution that will change generations to come. Strength is never giving up or even if we have different approaches on solving a problem, keeping the goal in front.”
Nakeisha is a director at the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development. She knows policies and programs—and structures and strategies—like the back of her hand.

But what she’s really in the business of is connecting people to resources, like food assistance, childcare, transportation and post-secondary opportunities—so that they can excel in their careers and be financially stable.

She says some of our biggest needs as a community is just helping our neighbors navigate complex systems and access the resources that already exist.

During a staff swap at work, Nekeisha was assigned to work in a local shelter for women experiencing homelessness. She remembers a woman approach her asking about employment. She was unable to find a job that was flexible enough to care for her son who has a disability—which is why they were experiencing homelessness.

Nakeisha helped her get into school and she became a CNA and is working to become an LPN.

“She was a top student and even came to a conference and spoke to our federal partners on how we can improve the system,” Nakeisha says. “That’s a success story—even though it’s only one person, it can impact a generation. I know her son’s proud of her too.”

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