Maria Mendoza-Pepin had been working in retail management positions for more than 17 years with organizations like Nordstrom and Coach, when she decided to take some time off and pursue a Master’s in Business Association degree in Human Resources Management. Unfortunately, she was having a difficult time finding good employment despite her extensive HR background because she did not have her Professional in Human Resources (PHR) certificate. When Maria’s contract as a retail trainer for Mariano’s ended in July of 2017 she heard about the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) program through a friend and decided to pursue the lead.

“After an online search, I found out about National Able Network and attended an orientation in Evanston in August of 2017,” she said. “I was presented with an HR internship position in October with National Able Network while I was attending classes for my PHR certification.” In early 2019, National Able Network hired Maria full time!

She credits her career coach, Azra Poljak, for helping her find a permanent position.. “The networking that my career coach Azra provided to me because she knew my interests and background in HR helped me to pursue and obtain employment in my current role,” Maria said.

She also credits Gail Berrier, Vice President of Human Resources at National Able Network, in helping develop her career. “I feel that [Gail] recognized my HR background and skills, and she has been helping me with my career development by providing the essential tools to succeed in my role,” said Maria.

Maria also has some advice for others who are looking for a new job or career. “The resources and the programs [at National Able Network] will benefit you. I encourage you to give it a try. Go to the orientation and see if it would be a good fit. Don’t limit yourself to the opportunity.”

Update: Maria has successfully earned her PHR certification. Congrats Maria!