Family Connections Inspire Scholarship-Winning Workforce Development Staffer to Help Others Achieve Their Goals
While spending the early years of his life in the Congo, Daniel Kadima’s family inspired him to want to make a positive impact on the lives of others. Now the Career Coach in the RPC’s Workforce Development division is hoping to use his influence in even bigger ways after being awarded a scholarship for a renowned economic development course.
Daniel arrived in the United States as a teenager, when his parents brought his family over from Africa in search of better opportunities. As a child of immigrant parents, he had learned to speak French and Lingala before English. Once he did learn to speak English, however, he and his siblings quickly became responsible for his family since his parents spoke very little of the language.
“Being involved with my family helped me develop a sense of helping others,” Daniel explains. “They always pushed us to value education because they had limited opportunities growing up. Due to this disadvantage, I learned to take everything I do seriously, and I put full effort into the things I do.”
Daniel started helping others through the Migrant Education Program, before moving on to the RPC’s Early Childhood Education program. But it’s within Workforce Development where he has really found his grounding, using his role as Career Coach to help others achieve new career goals. That role led to him applying for the Basic Economic Development Course and an opportunity to advance and develop himself professionally as he grows his own career.
The course, established in 1968 and accredited by the International Economic Development Council, provides a comprehensive economic development education for early career (less than 10 years of experience) economic developers, planners, city managers, and elected officials who are dedicated to expanding their economic development knowledge. Ameren recently awarded Daniel with a scholarship to participate in the course.
We asked Daniel to tell us a little more about himself and what the scholarship for the Basic Economic Development Course means to him.
What do you remember most about living in the Congo? How did that experience shape the way you approach your job as a Career Coach?
Daniel Kadima: “The thing I remember most about living in Congo is family. Being close to family is something I miss the most. This experience shapes my career in the way that I want to make an impact in my position/organization.”
You have said you grew to value education because of the limited opportunities your parents had. Is that part of what led you to want to pursue this scholarship? What are other reasons you feel this scholarship is important?
DK: “My interest in wanting to pursue this scholarship is because of the possibility for career advancement. I was fortunate enough to benefit from a scholarship during my undergraduate studies; therefore, I am truly appreciative of the opportunity to earn a credential cost-free. Part of my duty as a Career Coach is to write training vouchers to help clients with tuition. So, benefiting from a scholarship is a wonderful thing.”
How does your experience of being a newcomer to America at one time continue to impact your interactions with the people you work with as a Career Coach? Does it help you better connect with them and help put their mind at ease about the path they are taking?
DK: “My experience as a newcomer certainly impacts my interaction with the people I work with. My background helps me better understand the people I serve, especially since I work with a diverse group. Being able to bring a different aspect to an interaction has helped me connect with clients.”
What do you like most about your job and the work done by the RPC’s Workforce Development division?
DK: “One thing I like the most about my job is the joy of helping people succeed. Providing support to clients and watching them earn a credential to gives them a fair chance to compete for job is truly satisfying.”
Daniel will attend the Basic Economic Development Course this Fall at Nicor Gas headquarters in Naperville, Illinois. We congratulate him on the scholarship and look forward to all the great things he will accomplish at the RPC and in his life!