Age No Barrier to Employment for KRA Customers: Part 3

As originally reported, upon meeting Cynthia, Verndell, and Rhonda, they may appear to have little in common: Cynthia and Rhonda are single and have no children; Verndell is married with three children.  Cynthia’s passion is Accounting, Rhonda is finishing up a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, and Verndell is dedicated to the Nursing profession.  However, upon getting to know a little more about them, the first two similarities emerge: all reside in the Waccamaw Region of South Carolina (SC), and all sought workforce development services through the SCWorks Career Centers WIA Program*, operated by KRA Corporation.  In addition to all being deemed eligible for either Adult or Dislocated Worker services, the third similarity is perhaps the most significant: all are over the age of 50!  Cynthia’s and Rhonda’s success stories were published on 9/23 and 9/30, respectively.  Here is Verndell’s inspiring story:

Verndell, 63, was a High School Graduate, and also possessed a Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN) Certificate from Sheridan Vocational Technical Center, Hollywood, Florida (FL).  Although a definite asset in FL, Verndell found that some Waccamaw area healthcare-provider employers did not acknowledge the out-of-state credential, when “LPN Certification” was part of their hiring criteria.  However, upon re-locating to SC, she did find employment: first with a Regional Hospital, and then with a Medical Center, where she performed LPN-related and other assigned duties.  But, after 3 years, Verndell fell victim to a “reduction in force” personnel action, and unsuccessful in finding a new job on her own, enrolled in the KRA/SCWorks Program.

Gwendolyn Brown, KRA Career Agent, commented, “Verndell was pretty adamant about finding sustainable employment, and was totally committed to taking whatever steps were necessary to ensure her success.  She exhibited a very caring personality; uniquely suited for care giving, but she wanted to consider options other than Nursing in case her age—and lack of SC certification—presented roadblocks to her returning to a meaningful position in the healthcare profession.”  So, following Intake and Orientation sessions, Brown worked with Verndell on developing a  roadmap—an Individual Employment Plan (IEP)—which included assessments related to her abilities, aptitudes, and basic-skills levels in math and reading.  Based on results, Brown encouraged Verndell to attend Job Skills Workshop sessions facilitated by Kenneth McIver, KRA Business Services Representative.

Through JSW, Verndell received Career Coaching/Guidance, as well as numerous job-readiness sessions tailored to her particular needs.  During Interview/Resume Preparation, she worked with McIver on honing her interview skills and developing several resumes, each targeting a different area of her expertise.  And, as a result of her training in Job-Search Assistance/Techniques/Methods, she became very adept at conducting job searches on her own at home.

McIver reported, “On one of her targeted resumes, we had highlighted her previous experience in pediatric care, and this proved to be one of the key’s to her success.  By sticking to the action steps in her IEP, Verndell found a job!  Only 4 months after she enrolled in KRA/SCWorks, Verndell was hired by a Florence, SC, home-healthcare business to provide pediatric personal care for the child of a Williamsburg County family.”

Brown concluded, “Recently, Verndell reported to us that, ‘She is pleased and inspired to have the opportunity to be able to do something she thoroughly enjoys’.  Even though she had prepared herself for the possibility of changing careers—we had even considered phlebotomy training—we are all pleased that she is able to do what she loves and does best—caring for others.”

Funded by the Waccamaw Regional Council of Governments, the KRA/SCWorks Career Centers Program encompasses a tri-county area, providing extensive workforce services for jobseeker-customers who are elibigle for Adult, Dislocated, and In-School/Out-of-School Youth (ISY/OSY) assistance through WIA.  Adhering to a sector-driven strategy that targets service businesses in high-growth industries, the Program provides recruitment, screening, referral, follow-up, and retention services tailored to the needs of Regional private- and public-sector employer-customers.  The ISY/OSY component of the operation provides a comprehensive year-round program for disadvantaged youth facing significant barriers to employment.