Confronting Trauma, Age Barrier to Access Prosperous Future

Many older workers face the need to continue formal employment in the labor market past the traditional age of retirement. Ellen was one of those workers who were concerned about finding work and was equally concerned about entering a training program where she was surrounded by students 20+ years younger.

Ellen worked for Benteler Automotive for four years before she was laid off due to lack of work. Ellen has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Western Michigan University. She worked with children for many years, but a serious tragedy caused her to leave early education and seek out employment outside of her established profession to work through the trauma. When she was laid off from Benteler, Ellen was 63 years old and extremely concerned about age discrimination in her job search.

Ellen worked for a TAA-registered company, so when she was laid off she was automatically enrolled in an orientation for reemployment assistance. She met with career coaches and began training at Ross Medical Education Center the next month.

Ellen worked with her career coach in Calhoun County to confront past trauma and to overcome the age barrier in the labor market through training. She enrolled in a training program with TAA training assistance. Throughout her program, Ellen was encouraged and supported through one-on-one academic and career counseling. She was provided a space to voice her concerns and receive ongoing encouragement, including the daily nuts and bolts of working to learn new technology that would qualify her for successful employment as a medical assistant.

However, through deep career coaching, an intensive training program, and a serious amount of grit, Ellen completed the training. She finished with the highest grades in her class and was immediately hired upon completion and certification. Due to the nature of her previous trauma, near the end of her training, Ellen had to emotionally confront some of the issues she thought she left behind. With ongoing support from her career coach, Ellen pushed through and found herself proudly occupying the position she most coveted when she was putting in job applications.

Despite the challenges Ellen faced learning, such as managing the technology associated with the program, she earned the highest GPA outcome for her cohort thanks to her determination and proactive engagement with her instructors. Not only did Ellen received outstanding grades throughout the training program, but she was also consistently commended by her instructors for her interactive and communication skills relevant to her new role.

Ellen interviewed for and received a job offer from a local medical provider before even completing her registered medical assistant certification exam. Following the job offer, Ellen completed her certification exam and began working in a cancer care unit full-time with benefits. Ellen reported feeling very successful and full of pride over her achievements this past year.

Confronting Trauma, Age