Margit Altstadt had been working in the department of health in Champaign, Illinois for several years until she was laid off at the age of 62. “It was hard to find a job at that age,” she said, but that didn’t stop Margit from trying. She connected with a nonprofit focused on seniors, and worked there for three years until her daughter had a baby. She took some time off to help care for her grandchild, but as soon as they started school – Margit was back in job search at the age of 73! That’s when she came to National Able Network (Able) for help.
“I was looking for a job,” she said. “From my experience in the health department I knew I really liked that kind of work because I like to help people. It was very satisfying. Then I started with Able in Yorkville.”
Through Able’s Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP), Margit was given the opportunity to train and work at Services Associates. “I started in senior services,” she said. “I was helping older people, and I’m older myself so I know what people are going through so I can have empathy. It was really nice.”
Margit was on track to be hired full time at Services Associates in Yorkville but then the COVID-19 pandemic hit and everything ground to a halt. She took some time to reflect during this brief pause. Margit says, “I’m really reliable and I learn fast. I think I showed them that older people can do a better job than even younger people!” she continues, “I think they found out they can take a chance on me. And then it came down to hiring me.”
Margit did what she could to not only advance her career, but to also stay in the senior services career path. She says, “I sent an email to my supervisor and said that if they are hiring someone, please keep me in mind. After I sent that email, maybe two weeks later, I got a call. I never gave up.”
Now, Margit is again happily employed at Services Associates doing work she enjoys. “I am very happy,” she said. “My advice to others is don’t give up. You might think it’s not going to happen but just don’t give up. Do the best you can do while you’re in training because you can show them what you’re capable of doing.”
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