Meet Brenda – Digital Inclusion Graduate

Brenda is a graduate of Vantage Aging’s Senior Community Service Employment Program. Funded by the Department of Labor and Ohio Department of Aging, SCSEP provides paid, hands-on training to job seekers age 55 and older who are trying to re-enter the workforce. By empowering older adults with the skills and confidence they need to reach their career goals, the program contributes to healthier local economies and more independent, self-sufficient community members across the state.

While participating in SCSEP, Brenda was selected to grow her digital skills in Vantage’s Digital Inclusion program. The initiative aims to improve digital access and computer competencies of older Ohioans through access to digital devices and personalized, one-on-one coaching sessions from trained digital navigators in partnership with the Ohio Department of Aging.

Since graduating from Vantage’s SCSEP and Digital Inclusion program, Brenda is using her new technology skills to help other older adults on their employment journey.

Meet Brenda

Q: Where are you from?

A: I am from Lorain, Ohio, and have lived there my whole life.

Q: What do you like to do?

A: I like to get together with friends and play games.

Q: What did you do before training with Vantage’s SCSEP?

A: I was a Licensed Practical Nurse. I experienced a heart attack and needed open heart surgery and a quadruple bypass, which led to me needing to quit my job. Then, I worked at Walgreens’ take-home clinic, but the clinic closed, and I was laid off. I found Vantage’s SCSEP program and began training with Big Brothers Big Sisters, where I accepted a Vista position. When the Vista contract was up after two years, I re-enrolled in SCSEP and trained in administration with Vantage Aging.

Q: What were some challenges you faced when looking for work?

A: After leaving my nursing position, I had a very hard time finding work that accommodated my health needs and skillset. I did not have the administrative background for my new career path.

Q: What made you decide to apply for SCSEP?

A: Because I was having a hard time finding work, I knew SCSEP would help me grow my skills. The SCSEP team helped explore my goals and figure out my needs. I was able to consistently practice new skillsets while constantly learning.

Q: What is your SCSEP training assignment?

A: I am currently training with Vantage’s SCSEP program in Elyria, Ohio. I help with administrative duties and assist other program job seekers with reaching their employment goals.

Q: Why did you decide to participate in the Digital Inclusion program?

A The Digital Inclusion program was necessary to make me more comfortable using computers. I was excited to start. Technology is the way of the world now, and I needed to learn how to use it.

Q: How much experience did you have with technology before the program?

A: When Commodore 64 first came out, I begged my mom and dad for it, and they got it for me for Christmas. Back then, you had to program it yourself. I tried and I made one mistake along the way, and when it didn’t work, I said, “I’m done with that!”

In my career, I worked with computers a little bit since the healthcare industry was just switching over to more digital practices.

Q: Did you like having a one-on-one Navigator?

A: I like interacting one-on-one with a Digital Navigator. I was able to ask questions and could see and hear her as I learned.

Q: What was your favorite module?

A: I enjoyed learning PowerPoint. When I finished a project, I felt like an artist.

Q: How have you used your digital skills in the workplace?

A: I use my digital skills to help others with job training and finding employment. I have helped participants get their computers set up and find helpful resources. I was also able to take Ed2Go courses for optical assistant training.  

Q: How has Vantage changed the way you approach your job search?

A: The program helped grow my confidence. I don’t fear the computer like I did before. It felt good passing modules and earning certifications. Digital Inclusion helped me learn how to help myself.

Q: What would you say to others about the program?

A: Vantage’s Digital Inclusion program gives you the basics and a foundation that you can always revisit. The Digital Navigators are easy going and take you step by step through the program. They are there for you and answer questions when you need help. You know more than you think you know.

Q: What is next for you?

A: I learned that I enjoy helping others improve their skills and find employment. I would like a position helping people with their job search. Once I retire, I want to volunteer.

Q: What SCSEP Director John says about Brenda:

A: When Brenda started the SCSEP program, she didn’t have the administrative skills, but being a nurse gave her the ability to figure things out. She began building skills and I kept adding new tasks. She is always able to figure out solutions with autonomy and a positive attitude. Digital Inclusion helped her gain computer skills and confidence. It’s been fun watching her grow.

Interested in participating in Vantage’s SCSEP program to receive paid, hands-on training? Apply today in 38 Ohio counties.

Share this blog article