COLUMBUS, Ohio — After living in an impoverished neighborhood for part of his childhood, Lamonte Booker has come a long way. 

What You Need To Know

  • ReadySkill is a branch of Mid-Ohio Food Collective that goes beyond solving food insecurity
  • It helps people find jobs

  • A ReadySkill participant shares how the program influenced his aspirations

"I remember those days… just kind of wondering where your next meal was going to come from," said Booker.  

Years later, Booker has risen above the adversity — all because of the very person who believed in him: His mother Rosemary Booker. 

“She's always been a person when I've had struggles in undergrad or in my master’s program to just allow me to keep my eyes on the prize," Booker said. 

But after finishing his masters and exploring different career paths, Booker decided to take on a new endeavor: seeking a tech job. The idea came to him after stumbling across 'ReadySkill', which is a program that aims to advance people's careers despite employment barriers. 

It's part of the Mid-Ohio Food Collective. 

Chief Platform Officer Nick Davis, who oversees ReadySkill, said employment barriers and food insecurity can go hand-in-hand. 

“Our data tells us the best way to solve hunger,” said Davis, “is employment. That means getting someone on a living wage or even a thriving wage in order to be able to sustain themselves and their family."

And that's what Booker is trying to do — improve his situation. The program has helped him increase his skill set, and now, he is preparing to earn his professional certificate in sales force administration.

"ReadySkill has really closed the gap for me,” said Booker. “It's renewed hope that even someone at 50 years old can really feel reliant out here, you know. My career is not over. I can pursue other career opportunities if I choose to." 

The next ReadySkill program starts in a few weeks.

For more information or to sign up, click here.