These days Glenda Leicht, an Arnold grandmother, heads to work every day with a smile on her face.
At the age of 60, Leicht was unemployed and busy helping raise her special needs grandson, while also assisting two of her children and struggling financially following a divorce. Leicht had plenty of experience in accounting and administrative skills, but felt her age was a barrier to finding a job.
She turned to the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP), which is run by MERS/Goodwill.
According to a press release, SCSEP is a federally funded program administered by MERS/Goodwill, providing subsidized, work-based training to low-income persons age 55 or older that need help finding a job. Volunteers are placed at non-profit and government agencies, called a Host Agency, to assist in the organization's operations working an average of 20 hours per week. SCSEP is meant to act as a bridge to unsubsidized employment opportunities, learning on the job skills needed to find permanent employment.
"Glenda faced barriers in the workplace because of her age and she didn't have the computer skills needed for many work environments, but her biggest barrier was her lack of confidence," said Constance McCord, case manager for SCSEP.
Through SCSEP, Leicht was placed at Nazareth Living Center in South County for 20 hours of work experience per week. She began working with McCord and completed skills training provided by SCSEP. The training not only helped her gain computer skills, but it also boosted her confidence.
She started out as an ice cream parlor attendant, but was quickly able to prove to her new boss that she had administrative and accounting skills. She eventually became the part-time receptionist for five different departments within Nazareth. She graduated from the SCSEP program and Nazareth kept her on as a regular employee.
Today, Leicht works an average of 38 hours per week as the assistant to the admissions coordinator at Nazareth. She assists in numerous departments at the Center, helping to arrange dinners, the golf tournament and other fundraisers, as well as completing general administrative tasks and brightening the faces of the nurses, residents and visitors she works with.
"I wouldn't be where I am today were it not for MERS/Goodwill and Constance's encouragement," said Leicht. "She really pushed me to break out of my shell."
If you or someone you know could benefit from the Senior Community Service Employment Program, call 888-651-4177.