READY FOR THE CHALLENGE—Recently appointed executive director of Veteran Place, Marlon L. Ferguson.

For more than 20 years Carena M. Phillips has been assisting people in their quest for a better life and to find employment. Like the Pied Piper, her caring attitude and helpful spirit seems to draw people to follow her where ever she is employed. Since December of 2013 she has been focusing her efforts at Veterans Place of Washington Boulevard where she is the employment coordinator.

Veterans Place, dedicated to ending homelessness among Veterans in the Pittsburgh region, Phillips says is a perfect place for her.  “My purpose in life seems to be to assist in helping those who for whatever reasons have fallen on bad times. I believe in the Veterans Place mission of being dedicated to homeless Veterans, a population that has served its country well.”

As employment coordinator, she would like to find its residents not just a job, but a career. “We cannot full fill our goal to facilitate Veterans’ transition from homeless to home, becoming engaged, valuable citizens who contribute to their communities if they do not have adequate income,” she said.

Phillips, a Homewood native is a product of the workforce development system. Throughout her career she has assisted thousands of youth, adults, ex-offenders and now Veterans find jobs. Her credibility is demonstrated when each year hundreds show up for the Get Back to Work Help Fair she sponsors with the Pennsylvania State Board of Probation and Parole. “The goal of the Fair is to provide resources, to give the participants information and to give them hope,” she said. “This was our twelfth year, but at the end of each event I still feel that there was more I could have done. All I want to do is serve my clients with excellence.”

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