Romary 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, Rosemary 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, Rosemary has successfully found full-time employment at Meals On Wheels of Northeast Ohio.
Q: Where are you from?
A: I grew up in West Virginia. In 2007, I moved to Tennessee and lived in my son’s house while he was deployed to Afghanistan.
Q: What did you do before training with Vantage’s SCSEP?
A: While in TN, I was a hostess and trainer at Olive Garden. I was in a new state living by myself, and I decided that restaurant work wasn’t for me. I enrolled in college and earned a degree in medical billing and coding. I had an education, but I struggled to gain the training I needed to land a job in this new career path. Since then, I moved several times to be with family, including to North Carolina and Virginia Beach, and finally Canton, OH.
Q: What were some challenges you faced when looking for work?
A: When I was trying to find a job on my own, I was disheartened because I’d send tons of applications and emails and never hear anything back. Vantage helped teach me how to follow up with employers and make my resume stand out.
Q: What made you decide to apply for SCSEP?
A: In Canton, I knew I was not ready to retire. I heard about SCSEP from an acquaintance and decided to enroll.
Q: What were your SCSEP training assignments?
A: I first trained in the billing department of an organization. When the pandemic happened, everyone trained from home for a year. I then went to the Salvation Army. And, finally, I found where my talents were best used at Meals On Wheels of Northeast Ohio.
Q: How has Digital Inclusion helped your job search?
A: When I first heard about the Digital Inclusion program, I was a little apprehensive. I knew how to do a couple of things, but I learned I did not know a lot and that was holding me back. In the program, I learned about dangerous emails, viruses, how to use formulas in Excel, and much more. Every step of the process was an awaking of my knowledge navigating computers and how to apply it to my life.
Q: How has Digital Inclusion helped you in other ways?
A: I feel more alive by participating in this program. It is enriching my life and helping me gain valuable skills. I knew I had intelligence to succeed, and SCSEP gave me the opportunity to learn the skills that got me to a role that I love and where I can contribute to my community.
Q: How did the equipment help you?
A: The Digital Inclusion program provides you with a laptop, hotspot, computer case, and mouse pad. I needed these so badly to accomplish my goals. Since I am on Social Security with a limited income, buying a new, reliable computer and internet was not an option.
Q: Did you like having a one-on-one Navigator?
A: Working one-on-one with a Digital Navigator was amazing. When you’re in a group, you have to let other people speak and might lose your train of thought. Individually, you can work on issues immediately and they make themselves available for questions.
Q: How did the Digital Inclusion program surprise you?
A: The ability to be at home and train while getting paid was surprising. The fact that someone would pay you to learn things at are relatable to my career goals and make be a better employee I was excited about all the different training materials that are still available to me after I’ve graduated from the program. I can go back and refresh, which makes me better at my job now.
Q: What are you doing now?
A: I graduated from the program and now have a full-time position as a receptionist at Meals On Wheels NEO. I get to interact with the amazing volunteers and continue taking on more responsibilities. I plan to continue learning more digital skills and growing with the company.
Q: What would you say to others about the program?
A: Don’t let fear hold you back. The Vantage team will walk you through step by step. There are no stupid questions, everyone wants you to learn, and they let you learn at your own pace. Go for it – You’re only failing if you’re not trying.
Interested in participating in Vantage’s SCSEP program to receive paid, hands-on training? Apply today in 38 Ohio counties.