LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A free, career-focused center is offering high school students seeking employment a little hope despite these uncertain times.

The Arkansas Employment Career Center in Little Rock is a non-profit that has been helping provide opportunities for both young and seasoned job seekers.

“They just made me feel as though I was more prepared,” explains Bryant High School senior, Kyla Dishman. “They made me feel – not that I can just go out into the world but — that I can do things on my own without needing that extra push because they gave me the determination to do it myself.”

Dishman is just one of the centers most recent success stories, says the centers founder and CEO, Carla Daniels.

“She is an example that programs like these work and that students strive when they are provided with the resources to make them successful,” Daniels says.

At 16-years-old, Dishman says she witnessed the struggles many of her older friends faced when looking for work post graduation.

Initially, she came to the center with questions and answers about her future and says it soon turned into an experience she is grateful to have happened.

“I feel confident,” says Dishman. “You can’t teach that.”

Dishman was offered a job with the City of Little Rock, however, due to the current pandemic the position was no longer available.

However, the incoming senior says she now sees a brighter future for herself because she is already ahead of the job curve – with real life job skills that can’t be taken away.

Dishman plans to “pay-it-forward” once back in school by helping her peers prepare for their futures and share with them the skills she has acquired.

 “I just want to push my friends to prepare for their future because they don’t know that time is flying,” she explains. “High school flew by for me – I just feel like I am more prepared.”

The center’s youth career program is funded by the State’s Arkansas Career Pathways Initiative.

The program partners with several colleges, local employers and social service providers offering a wider variety of employment options for students.

For more information on the jobs or programs at the Arkansas Employment Career Center, click here.