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Aiken program to help city employees move up ladder

Saturday, Sept. 24, 2011

AIKEN, S.C. -- To some people, an Aiken program is a helping hand to climb up the ladder and make more money.

Rasheka Gaines considers herself lucky -- lucky to receive the opportunity of a lifetime. She was a maintenance worker at the Odell Weeks Activity Center in Aiken but after six years, she says it is time for a change.

"I am at the bottom. You have to actually apply yourself and want to do better," Gaines said.

Gaines applied and enrolled into the Succession Management Program. The program was created two years ago by Aiken City Manager Richard Pearce.

"The trend nationally is that government jobs tend to be staffed by the same people for a very long time and then all of a sudden there is immediate quick and severe change," Pearce said.

That change could come soon as baby boomers begin to retire. Pearce wants to make sure city employees are qualified to apply for higher paying jobs.

"It is not guaranteed that you will get an actual position, but you are getting the knowledge that you need," Gaines said.

Gaines said she finally felt comfortable to apply for a better job. Now, she is the facilities secretary at the same place she used to be a maintenance worker.

"All of the knowledge that I gained in the program will allow me to perform better," Gaines said.

There are more than 100 city employees enrolled in the program taking classes for free.

"We are providing them the opportunity to gain that knowledge because it is so important in our daily routine," Pearce said.

An opportunity that has changed Gaines' daily routine for the better.


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