Of the nearly 9,000 people HIRED serves each year, Sharon has an incredible story of triumph after years of abuse and self-doubt. Growing up in an abusive home, she was scared every day of her life. As a young woman, she found herself in another abusive relationship. Sharon remembers, “The violence was normal for me, because that’s all I had ever known.” One day, she realized that her life was never going to change, and she had a choice—run away or die. 

With two children in tow, she came to HIRED with almost no work experience, no high school diploma, no home, and literally running for her life. Sharon wanted something better for her children, and was determined build a new life. Her counselor, Braden, quickly took action and made several phone calls to ensure that Sharon and her children had a place to stay.

photo of sharon and jane

Sharon (left) & former HIRED Executive Director, Jane Samargia (right)

With Braden’s encouragement, she enrolled in job search workshops at HIRED where she learned how to apply for jobs and to express herself in job interviews. Within six months, she had earned her GED. She is out of the homeless shelter, and lives with her two children in her own apartment in a safe neighborhood with good schools. She is now on the Dean’s List, and pursuing a degree in social work, so she can help others who want to change their lives.

Describing her HIRED experience, Sharon says:

“HIRED has helped me in many ways. They are a wonderful group of people who have helped me build confidence. They were the first people to believe in me when I was not sure of myself. They have been a blessing. They are all about helping people succeed!”


Esmeralda fled an abusive situation in Mexico as a young girl and came to the United States with no high school diploma and no work experience. After she arrived in this country, she was determined to enroll in school and learn English.

At 17, Esmeralda left school to support her mother and sisters. Realizing that she couldn’t spend the rest of her life working for minimum wage, she came to HIRED for help in pursuing her dream for a career in the medical field. She earned her GED, and was assisted by HIRED to complete training to become a certified nursing assistant. Her counselor worked with her on preparing a professional resume, techniques for successful interviews, and how to present her ideas in an effective way.


As Esmeralda took classes, she also was supporting her family by working 50 hours a week. Sometimes  she had less than five hours of sleep each night, but these obstacles didn’t keep her from pursuing her goal to build a better life.  On the advice of her counselor, she began to volunteer at St. Gertrude’s Health and Rehabilitation Center in Shakopee while she was still taking courses at HIRED.

After she earned her nursing assistant license, she interviewed there, and told them: “I’m here. I have the skills. I’m ready to work!” She got the job on the same day. Since then, she’s now well on her way to qualifying for a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) certification, and has earned a promotion.

Esmeralda gives credit to HIRED, saying:

“There are no words to say ‘thank you’ to HIRED for everything they did to help me. Having a good education and a good income allows me to put food on the table for my girls, but also to pay taxes and help other people in my community get the education and skills they need to make a better country for all of us.”