Unemployment stories: New Jersey woman is learning skills while seeking work

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Due to the COVID-19 shutdown, so many people are being forced to develop new skills and strategies to find employment, and one such person is Kathy Rodriguez of South Jersey.

She is sharing her story not just in hopes of finding a job, but also to motivate and inspire others.

"I'm a full-time student, currently unemployed," she said.

Rodriguez is also a 43-year-old single mom who supports her 18-year-old son and her 72-year-old mother.

"We've been spending a lot of family time together and encouraging each other," she said.

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That encouragement is vital. Rodriguez was just about to begin a new job as a property manager when COVID-19 struck. She's been forced to replace that former job opportunity with a dose of extra motivation.

"Now with the pandemic, it's like, 'okay so now really what do I want to do? What can I do?" she asked.

Rodriguez began her career in the social service field specifically as a counselor for nonprofits. She then transitioned into property management.

"In both, you help people," she said. "So it's pretty much helping people and giving them the necessary resources."

Now Rodriguez is furthering her education.

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"And now's the time for anybody if you've got dreams or visions or skills now's the time to build upon it because we've got time," she said.

Rodriguez is taking real estate classes.

"They offered it virtually for the first time due to the pandemic," she said. "The goal for that is to become a New Jersey licensed real estate salesperson."

She is also enrolled in a full-time business entrepreneurship program.

"Long term goal is to hopefully have my own property management firm but also some form of community development as well," she said.

But until she gets her own business up and running, Rodriguez is also looking for a mentor and a job.

"I'm definitely open to anything administrative, that's what I do, anything in the property management sector. Even social services because that is my heart," she said. "I'm a team member but I also work very well individually, and I'm a go-getter. It's all about thinking outside the box and what can we do to take this thing to a whole 'nother level."

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