Constance’s story: Holistic Career Upskilling and Reskilling
Constance appreciates how Easterseals and GetSetUp address all aspects of searching for a job
Constance has always worked in the social service field as an administrative secretary. She worked as an Administrative Secretary at Family Focus, a social service agency that served moms and children. She also worked at an alternative school in her community. Prior to her job training with Easterseals SCSEP, she worked as an administrative secretary at Bobby E. Wright Mental Health Center under the leadership of Dr. Lucy Lang-Chappell, CEO a social agency that focuses on supporting mentally challenged adults and children, until she was laid off.
Due to a leg length discrepancy from polio in her youth, she went on disability after she was laid off but quickly realized she didn’t want to be stuck at home, which was beginning to lead to depression. She wanted to go back to work but knew she needed to learn new skills, especially technology, to expand her opportunities.
“With technology, things are constantly changing. even though I did a lot of secretarial work, I still needed a lot of upskilling.”
To get this support, Constance joined the SCSEP program with Easterseals, which helped with training and other educational opportunities to help her find her next job. One of the resources Easterseals offered her was virtual classes on GetSetUp.
She was particularly thrilled with the class she took on “How to Successfully Interview.”
“Now, when an employment opportunity comes up, I’ll know how to interview. Plus, I better understand the type of resumes that employers are looking for in their potential employees.”
She’s also been taking additional classes through National Able Network in Chicago, IL. She’s looking for employment positions in the Chicagoland area that are perhaps not remote since she prefers in-person work. Because Constance has to take PACE (transportation for the disabled) she needs to make the job location accessible. Until she can find that, she’s continuing to upskill and practice her new skills.
“I am really appreciative of GetSetUp and enjoyed the classes and the Guides. Classes are good for older adults since they allow them to learn new things and interact with others. The advantage of GetSetUp is that the Guides have experience and have been out there, so they know what we are going through and where we are coming from.”
Constance has appreciated being able to take classes with people who are prepared, patient, and kind. It’s helping her to gain confidence in the skills she wants to develop for her upcoming work. She’s interested in taking a future class on “Hosting a Zoom Meeting” and learning more about Microsoft Word in addition to general career building to enhance her resume and interview skills.
Upskilling for Holistic Job Searches
“I like that GetsetUp has a lot of classes. They deal with every aspect of your job search, including the body, soul, and spirit.”
Constance has also enjoyed taking classes on GetSetUp about eating right and fitness. She’s also found classes on Managing Stress, Positive Thinking, Creativity, and Creating a Vision Board are right in line with where she wants to be in life.
“Sometimes, at a certain age, you forget about your dreams. When you look at your vision board and see what you put on it, it reminds you of all things that you want to do and encourages you to do them. It gives you a new sense of inspiration and hope.”
Positive thinking is helping Constance tackle the job search/career building and life with renewed energy. While she’s currently geared toward finding a position in social services or secretarial work, she’s keeping her options open and enjoys learning about new positions.
“I like interaction with people. As a secretary, you have to type on the computer, but you also have the opportunity to interact with people one-on-one. Previously, my training site through Easterseals was at the Austin Senior Center, where I received training with the CEDA Program. Presently, I am receiving training as an Administrative Aide with the SCSEP Easterseals-Chicago. I truly enjoy the constant interaction with people and being able to share the information they need with them.”
“At church, we conduct church meetings and presentations on Zoom. Therefore, I would like to obtain more technical skills, especially in How to Host Zoom Meetings and Powerpoint. Also, I was chosen to be a representative for Easterseals SCSEP participants, so I need the technical skills to start conducting those meetings, many of which are virtual. These skills would help me to be able to better share employment opportunities and training resources. I also plan to share information about GetSetUp in the church’s newsletter - The Carey Tencentenary Christian Renaissance Newsletter.”
Constance shared information about GetSetUp with the Director of the Lawndale Christian Senior Center she attends bi-weekly. She suggested GetSetUp classes as a potential activity for seniors who attend the center to do individually and collaboratively.
“I told my doctor about GetSetUp too. It’s so good for older people. There are lots of different categories that seniors can explore while they are at home. GetSetUp helps them keep informed about what is happening and learn new things. Plus it’s a great way to interact with others.”
Constance noticed how the Guides welcomed participants and seemed to have a great rapport with some of them. Which she thought was neat because it helped make everybody feel comfortable with asking questions and sharing information.
“The knowledge part is both informative and helpful. I get to learn something I may not have been really familiar with, especially in the areas of finances and budgeting. I am also learning how to prepare and to eat healthier too.”
Constance feels GetSetUp really addresses all areas of her life.
“Being older, sometimes you feel you are too old to learn something. You think, ‘I don’t know if I can learn it.’ But GetSetUp shows you that you can. It helps us to learn new things to socialize and gain knowledge. That’s why I really like it.”
Constance enjoys the freedom of being able to learn things without having to leave her house. She was particularly enlightened by a class that helped her understand new ways and resources for having difficult conversations with someone.
“The class showed how to deal with and calm down the situation when someone is being really difficult to deal with. It gave tips on how to be patient and understanding.”
Other classes she has taken have shown her how to get creative with expenses when you’re on a fixed income. So she learned some ways to cut costs, about How to Write a Resume on Job Finding and Volunteering, and Moving Beyond Regrets so that she can learn how to live without regrets. She believes there’s lots more to learn and looks forward to more classes with the GetSetUp Guides and participants.