Pike County resident Alicia Taylor believes things happen for a reason.
She said there’s no better proof of this than the time in early 2013 when after overcoming years of drug addiction, she happened upon a flyer for her local Job Club. She had never heard of Job Club before that moment.
“I believe it was meant for me to go to Job Club, and all of that played a role in where I am today,” Taylor said.
In March 2014, Taylor became one of the newest business owners in Betsy Layne, having opened her nail salon—Nailz Did Toez Done—just off Highway 23 in Floyd County. But the road to opening her own business was a rocky one filled with potholes, and one Taylor previously had not imagined traveling.
“I never in my life thought about doing it,” she said of starting her own business.
A California native, Taylor moved to Kentucky in 1996 to help care for a family member. It was a just a few short years later, in 2001, that her life began a downward spiral into addiction.
“I had never heard of snorting a pill,” she said. “And the first time I did, it was over.”
Taylor was in and out of jail and finally hit bottom, she said, lucky to be alive. Then in November 2012, something clicked.
“I woke up one day and just decided I was done,” she recalled. “I didn’t want to live that way anymore.”
Overcoming years of addiction was no easy task, Taylor said, and it will be something she continues to cope with. But it was something she had to do to turn her life around, as was finding employment.
Shortly after breaking her addiction, Taylor began a job search at her local Kentucky Office of Employment and Training. That’s where she spotted the Job Club flyer.
Taylor knew nothing about Job Club at the time, but decided to give it a serious try. She began attending weekly meetings led by expert career advisors with the Big Sandy Area Community Action Program (BSACAP).
A Job Club is a small group of jobseekers that meets to share leads and networking opportunities. The Pike County Job Club is sponsored by the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program, Inc. (EKCEP) and its Kentucky Career Center JobSight workforce network, in collaboration with BSACAP and the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training.
Though Job Club was an early step in her search for employment, it was one that would ultimately serve as a catalyst that helped lead Taylor to a new life. She received advice on how to approach a job interview, what to say, and how to tweak her résumé. She quickly put that information to use.
“I got a lot of helpful information,” she said. “I used the advice they were giving on how to get a job, and learn about the company you’re applying for.”
Taylor applied for a position with a local tanning salon and was called for an interview. Putting into practice what she learned in Job Club, she worked to find out everything she could about the business, its history, and its profile.
“I studied that business,” she said. “When I went in that interview, I told them when they started it and who opened it. I killed that interview and they hired me!”
During this time, Taylor discovered she had a talent as a nail artist, and that talent started drawing attention from others. Patrons in the salon complimented her own nails, and one customer in particular urged her to attend school and become a professional nail artist.
“I told her I couldn’t afford to go to school for nails, and she said she’d be back in a couple of days and she’d get me in school,” Taylor explained.
The woman returned as promised and presented Taylor with information about the state’s vocational rehabilitation program, which helped pay for her instruction. By November 2013, Taylor had become a licensed nail technician.
Only four months later, her salon was open for business in Floyd County.
Starting out in business is scary, and while moments have been tough, Taylor noted that her business is also growing. She is working to expand and hire a hairdresser, and plans to keep growing her business as she can.
And in addition to her vocation, Taylor is also hoping to inspire others to overcome their own addictions. She publishes a regular video blog and has hosted Narcotics Anonymous meetings at her business.
“I want to show other recovering addicts that it’s possible,” she said. “I want to show them that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. If you don’t see the positive, you don’t see anything.”
Perhaps just as importantly, she is doing something she loves to do, and it all began with a single decision that put her on the path on which she travels today.
“I believe everything happens for a reason,” Taylor said. “If it wasn’t for Job Club, I would have never learned the skills and the way to handle certain situations to be where I am today. I recommend anybody to go there.”
To find a job club near you, send a message to Job Clubs of Eastern Kentucky on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jobclubseky, or call BSACAP at 606-789-3642 or EKCEP at 606-435-5751.