Sharon Smith is like an oasis in the desert for individuals in need of personal and professional assistance in DuPage County, Illinois. In 2011, Sharon moved from a desert (Arizona) to Chicago to take care of her mother. She was unemployed and had experience in a number of different industries, but needed some personalized help to navigate starting a new career path. As a senior, Sharon found the help she needed in the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP).

SCSEP gave Sharon the opportunity to work locally in her community, and she found great success in helping job seekers like herself at the DuPage workNet facility in Lisle while enrolled in the program. “I enjoyed working in the field and I liked not being confined, but I needed an increase in my income,” Sharon said of participating in the program. She found the position to be very rewarding, but was looking for something that would increase her income while also building on all of the great skills she learned while in the program.

Sharon’s career coach Lourdes “Lulu” Holguin encouraged Sharon to apply for a full-time position through the DuPage County Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act program (WIOA) since it was similar to her work with SCSEP.

Admittedly, Sharon needed some help to spruce up her resume and found interviewing to be terrifying, but with encouragement from Lulu, Sharon applied for, and landed, the position!

Today, Sharon loves her new career, “I’m helping people which I love doing. It’s ideal for me. I’m a giver, a doer. It’s very social, very personal.”