UMass Medical School employee describes life-changing internship at Department of Transitional Assistance ceremony

July 19, 2018

Dineia Williams, a provider management coordinator in Disability Evaluation Services at UMass Medical School, transitioned from receiving benefits from the Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA), to full-time employment assisting DTA clients. She shared her journey as a DTA Works intern at a July 10 Client Recognition Ceremony at the State House in Boston.

“It was a long road, a lot of work and a lot of pushing myself to do things I knew would be hard but I had amazing people helping me. I’m very thankful for the opportunities I was given,” Williams said at the State House.

Williams was one of several interns presented with a certificate from DTA Commissioner Jeff McCue at the ceremony. Another member of the Disability Evaluations Services team, Disability Assistant Jillian Rugg, was honored for her participation in the internship program.

A mother of four, Williams explained that she once had no car, was on the verge of eviction, and needed economic assistance. While receiving assistance from DTA, she worked to increase her employability, starting with enrolling in a skills training through a DTA funded program by New England Business Associates (NEBA). The program at NEBA helped prepare her for employment with a professional resume that showcased her strengths, skills and training.

Williams learned, through NEBA, about an internship program offered by DTA called DTA Works. The DTA Works program is designed to help Temporary Assistance for Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC) clients in need of work experience and mentorship by providing internship placements throughout DTA’s 22 Transitional Assistance Offices as well as at partner agencies. Under this initiative, DTA clients not only gain professional skills and work experience, but are given “on the job” support to develop the soft skills necessary to obtain and maintain employment.

Williams landed an internship at UMass Medical School with Disability Evaluation Services, which conducts disability determinations on behalf of DTA. The internship equipped her with work experience, self-confidence, and important job related skills, and kept her informed about job availability. She applied and interviewed for an open provider management coordinator position within Disability Evaluation Services. She was hired, and has been in the position since October 2017.

Williams is grateful to NEBA and the DTA Works programs, as well as UMass Medical School for giving her the opportunity to grow her skills and become an employee. She now has permanent housing, quality child care for her children, a job with benefits, paid vacation time, union coverage, retirement and a pension.

“These opportunities have changed the quality of life for my family,” Williams said.

Disability Evaluation Services is committed to an ongoing partnership with the DTA Works internship program.