After being laid off due to budget cuts, previous Child Welfare Attendant Cheryl Brown was unsure of what to do next. As a mother and grandmother, Cheryl was worried about finding her next career and being able to support her family. Although she was apprehensive, Cheryl decided to seek additional training and start a new career path!

Cheryl came to the Chicago Workforce Center in Pilsen and began taking adult education courses through National Able Network to improve her math and reading skills. Cheryl said she was one of the oldest people in her class, but she didn’t let the age difference bother her! “It could have been intimidating, but the other students were so encouraging with me,” said Cheryl.

Cheryl improved her skills through training and enrolled in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and begin working with National Able Network Career Coaches, Coral Duarte and Shawn McKenzie. With Coral’s help and advice, Cheryl decided to work towards a career in patient care. Cheryl earned multiple certifications – Phlebotomy Tech, CPR/AED Certification, Certified EKG Technician, Certified Nursing Assistant, and Patient Care Technician – while Shawn helped her update her resume and cover letter to reflect her updated skill set. 

Cheryl used her drive and initiative to pursue a job lead for a position as a patient care technician, and was thrilled when she got the job offer! After just a few months working in her new position, Cheryl was surprised and grateful when she was offered the responsibility of being night shift supervisor for her floor. Her new position incentivized her to learn even more about her current role: “I told the new nurses ‘I’m still in training too, whatever you want to teach me I want to learn.’”

For other job seekers looking to change their career paths, Cheryl offers this advice: “Don’t let age define what you can do.” Cheryl is continuing her education in her new career by training to earn her Associates Degree in Nursing. Cheryl says going back to school is no easy feat when working the night shift, but says she’s thrilled nevertheless, “I’m pursuing my dream…I’m working at night, going to school during the day. I may be tired, but I love it.”

Congratulations Cheryl!

If you or someone you know is seeking additional job training, click here to register for National Able Network today!