Lauren is the first woman at her company to ever hold the position of water treatment service technician. But the path here wasn’t easy.

Lauren discovered her passion for clean water treatment and distribution while serving in Iraq from 2004-2005, part of her nine years as a U.S. Army sergeant. There, she was put in charge of treating water to make it safe to drink and then distributing it to surrounding areas. She returned home with a dream of building a career in the water treatment industry.

When she entered EMPath’s flagship program, Career Family Opportunity (CFO), in August 2013, Lauren was working at a job outside of her desired career field that was not putting her on track to earn a family-sustaining wage. She moved in with her partner, but the relationship became toxic. She decided to move back to Massachusetts, where she had no support system or social network. After experiencing homelessness for two years with her daughter, Lauren received a Section 8 voucher and moved to an apartment in Quincy, MA. However, her daughter’s new school wasn’t a meeting her needs, and she was being bullied. Lauren moved again, this time to an apartment in Franklin.

During her five years with EMPath, Lauren worked with her mentor to set and achieve life goals. She obtained her associate’s degree in Environmental Science from Quincy College, strategized how to best raise a teenage daughter, paid off debts, and developed healthy spending habits like budgeting, expense tracking, and consistent saving. She also participated in advocacy with EMPath, sharing her story through the Speaker’s Bureau.

In June 2019, Lauren graduated from the CFO program.

Today, Lauren works as a water treatment service technician at a water treatment company and is earning a family-sustaining wage. Obtaining the job wasn’t easy – during the application process, the team was skeptical of hiring a woman because of the job’s intense physical demands. After advocating for herself, however, Lauren became the first woman at the company to hold this position. “I realized I can look cute at night and work a jackhammer during the day,” she says.

Lauren is still actively working with EMPath on her finances and educational aspirations. She is taking steps to get her bachelor’s degree in environmental science in order to further her career, and she hopes to buy a home someday.

Lauren says EMPath has changed her life.

“There’s this confidence that I have now that I didn’t have before,” she explains. “I feel like I have people that support me, and people that are gonna cheer me on no matter what.”

A photo of Karin with her three 20-something children.

Karin's Story

In 2013, I suffered a major brain injury that changed my life. With EMPath’s support, I have healed physically, emotionally, and spiritually, got a job that I love, paid off almost all my bills, continued my education, and learned to love my life again.