Karen Merwick worked at the Tribune Company for 21 years in various capacities. In 2010, Karen was working as a pre-press technician when she was laid off. She quickly jumped into job search mode, but after four years of working contract positions, Karen was still seeking full time employment. In 2014, Karen was rehired at the Tribune Company, but this second stroke of luck would only last until 2018 when she was laid off for the second time. However, this time around Karen connected with National Able Network!

She worked hard to update her job search skills, resume, and LinkedIn profile. Karen also joined a job search work team at Oakton Community College in Skokie! Karen shared this advice with fellow job seekers, “Attend the work groups! They provide a great networking opportunity to learn about what’s out there.” As Karen continued her job search within the program, she wanted to fully encompass all the time and resources available to her, so she pursued and successfully earned her CNC machinist certification. “It was a wonderful experience with a combination of job readiness training and career path training,” said Karen.

As she continued her career search, Karen found an opportunity at Chicago Culinary FX and she applied. “The hiring manager felt my unique combination of tech and artistic skills was perfectly suited to his needs. National Able Network recently helped me find funding for the tech training portion of my skills. Combined with my many years of graphic arts experience, this specialized training made me a stand-out job applicant!”

Karen was hired as Chicago Culinary FX’s Photoshop Tech! “I am so jazzed about this new opportunity! It is hands down the most exciting position I’ve ever had…and so aligned with my interests. I will be learning to use devices like laser cutters, 3D printers and even CNC machines. Honest to God, I feel like I’ve won the lottery…really! I’m so grateful to [National] Able [Network] for helping to prep me for my new adventure.”