Did you know that May is Older Americans Month? This year’s Older Americans Month celebration was highlighted with the theme of “Engage at Every Age” and encouraged everyone, young and old, to take part in activities that help to enrich your life physically, mentally and emotionally. At National Able Network, we shared how our amazing Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) participants make a difference everyday in our communities through their community service work.

As we close out this Older Americans Month, I would like to take the opportunity to highlight one of our most spectacular seniors, Wendy Harris! Wendy enrolled with National Able Network’s SCSEP in 2014. At that time she had been out of the workforce for about six years and was feeling frustrated and disillusioned with her job search. She recognized that she needed additional skill development but did not know where to start. Wendy’s first training placement was in the National Able Network Customer Contact Center where, despite her limited computer skills, she quickly picked up the new tasks, demonstrated an enthusiasm to learn and quickly became the “go-to person” for her fellow SCSEP participants in the Contact Center who had questions.

Recognizing these leadership skills, Wendy was transitioned into the Senior Ambassador Program with SCSEP where she used her blossoming computer skills to help with the structured training of other SCSEP participants. As a Senior Ambassador, and under the guidance of the National Able Network Training Department, Wendy assisted her fellow participants with their training in Microsoft Office Suite. She proctored their remote online training classes, followed-up with their homework assignments and provided one-on-one mentoring so that they could achieve their learning goals. Wendy was a smashing success! Following this experience as a Senior Ambassador, Wendy moved into the Program Aide training placement where she provided support to Illinois SCSEP Career Coach, Jacqueline Owens, with the management of Jackie’s caseload. As a Program Aide, Wendy had the opportunity to train other SCSEP participants on basic internet and computer skills. She has also honed her public speaking skills by conducting weekly SCSEP Information Sessions for program applicants.

During her experience with National Able Network’s SCSEP, Wendy said that she would love to be hired by National Able Network. Wendy found her “perfect fit” as a Workforce Coordinator with our Veterans Forward team! Now Wendy is applying all of her amazing customer service and computer skills that she has developed through her different SCSEP training placements to veterans.

“I am thankful that National Able Network gave me the opportunity to be all that I could be and let me find my place in life,” said Wendy. “I went from being a timid person to being a strong and self-sufficient person that I am today. I am honored and look forward to being on the Veterans Forward team. Thank you to National Able Network for the opportunities to change my career!”

We are so happy to see Wendy shine in this new position and wish her the best in her future as an employee of National Able Network! Congrats, Wendy!

Pictured above (left to right): Illinois Director of Senior Services Jenna Holzberg, Veterans Forward Program Manager Kat Schaeffer, Workforce Coordinator Wendy Harris and Illinois SCSEP Career Coach Jacqueline Owens