Sha’Carla Petty is passionate about improving her community and her team. Colleagues describe her as a compassionate, innovative and humble person dedicated to helping people find meaningful work in her community. The programs she’s implemented show she knows how to turn her passion into action.
As program director of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Petty, 35, works above and beyond the call of duty to help co-workers and program participants get what they need to succeed, wrote Yulanda Haddix, youth program coordinator at East Mississippi Community College, in her nomination letter.
SNAP, which aids recipients receiving state assistance, also counsels participants to find employment. Some people receive employability skills training; some are eligible to enter education and training and receive subsidized employment. Petty has bigger ideas beyond these education and training benefits, though.
“I am in the process of minimizing or eliminating the transportation barrier that many may have in attending classes or their jobs,” said Petty. Along with the state’s workforce specialist, she’s working to provide low-cost transportation options for participants in rural areas.
Petty also reaches out with businesses in a variety of industries — retail, manufacturing, transportation, government and health care — for the Counseling to Career program, which connects community college students to paid internships at local companies.
The programs Petty and her colleagues implement aid people in receiving assistance with training, obtaining their GED and finding employment. Helping these unemployed or underemployed individuals is one reason Petty loves her job and what she does in HR.
“I enjoy meeting people where they are and helping them to get to an end goal that will transform their life,” she said. “I am most honored that I am able to serve people and help them achieve their American dream.”