Meet Claude – Digital Inclusion Graduate

Claude 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, Claude was selected to grow his 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, Claude is using his new technology skills to educate students and working towards finding employment.

Meet Claude

Q: Where are you from?

A: I am an Air Force brat, born in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Since my father was in the U.S. Air Force, my family moved to Upper Heyford, England when I was a child. Later, we moved back to Columbus, Ohio, where my mother was from.

Q: What do you like to do?

A: I’m a little rusty on the piano these days, but used to play a lot more. I enjoy drawing and painting and plan to do that more when I retire.

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

A: I joined the U.S. Army after high school and spent five years overseas. Then, I was an assistant manager for a military club. I have also worked as a truck driver. I’ve mostly done office work and customer service throughout my career. 

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

A: Three of my last positions before training with Vantage were all at call centers and they all closed down. Most of the companies moved their opportunities outside of America. I think experienced some health issues. I had to rethink what I wanted to do in the next chapter of my career.

Q: What made you decide to apply for SCSEP?

A: While I was thinking about what I wanted to do for work, I started looking for jobs for seniors. I found Vantage’s SCSEP program online. It stood out because it provided paid training and would give me the opportunity to figure out what I want to do next. I started the program right before the pandemic.

Q: What is your SCSEP training assignment?

A: I am training at The Hardy Center in Columbus, Ohio. Vantage opened me up to different options – including working for nonprofit and with children – something that I had never considered. I’ve grown to really like my role in tutoring and administration for 5th and 6th graders. I find helping children with their studies rewarding. It’s not an easy age to teach, but when I see them succeed it feels good knowing that I helped them.

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

A: I heard about the Digital Inclusion training from other SCSEP participants at The Hardy Center. I’m glad I listened to their advice to try the program because it is the best training I’ve received.

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

A: When I was in the Army in the 1980’s, I was a finance specialist. I worked at a computer testing system site and did a lot of data entry and records review for military pay changes. After the Army, I worked with the old Apple computer DOS system. Most of my career, I was pretty limited on technology. Each call center or company would have their own data entry system.

Q: How did the equipment help you?

A: I am able to take my laptop with me to work or anywhere and continue learning.

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

A: Working one-on-one with a Digital Navigator was very convenient. I could work at my own pace, which helped me through each of the different modules.

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

A: I’ve really enjoyed learning to use PowerPoint. At The Hardy Center where I’m training, I am making PowerPoint presentations for our class. I also had a 6th grader who was working on a PowerPoint for school. With my training, I was able to help her practice with the class. I’m also using Google Docs to set up a library of worksheets for the children.

Q: How have you used your digital skills in your personal life?

A: I now use Excel not only at work, but also at home. I’ve also started using social media to stay connected and help my job search. I’m using LinkedIn to appeal to employers.

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

A: The program helped me achieve new goals that I didn’t even know I had. It gave me a better perspective of what could be. I think about times in my life where I would take a job just to take it, not thinking about how I fit into a role and how the job works for me. Vantage has opened me up to many more possibilities.

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

A: You will have a Digital Navigator to help you through everything. It won’t be as difficult as you might think. There is no harm in trying. Give it a shot!

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

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