The official blog of Goodwill of Southern Nevada.

Success Story: Older Workers Make Great Employees

Michele, a senior who struggled to find work, is now helping others with similar struggles. 

Talk with Michele Jolly, or take one glance at her resume, and you would think this is the ideal worker. Her resume demonstrates loyalty, and a diverse range of experience from manufacturing to clerical work and more. Michele is humble, soft spoken, kind, confident, and driven, but, as a senior (55+ years of age), Michele found getting a job in Las Vegas, to be a far more difficult than anyone imagined.

Michele, a hard-working single mother, raised her family and lived most of her life in Cleveland, Ohio. Her work ethic served as a role model for her children who both went on to college and successful careers. Her son, a loan officer, who is married to a member of the U.S. Air Force stationed at Nellis Air Force base in Las Vegas, NV, encouraged his mother to move. He told her she could be close to his family and her grandchildren, and would find a job much easier in Las Vegas than in Cleveland, where after leaving a start-up company that relocated, she had been struggling to get a job.

When Michele arrived in Las Vegas she immediately set out to get her financial situation stable by securing a good job. As an older worker, she knew she wasn’t well-suited for jobs with physical demands, long hours, or overnight shifts. She also wanted to spend time with grandchildren, so she avoided jobs that would require her to work weekends. With her job search focused on office and clerical work, which she had years of experience doing, she applied for job after job

Michele’s enthusiasm soon waned as she didn’t hear back from employers. She wasn’t getting a chance to interview. Fortunately, while still in Cleveland, Michele sought help from the AARP 50+ Back to Work program, which helps seniors remove barriers to employment, get work in non-profit organizations, and avoid slipping into poverty late in life. Working with the AARP team in Las Vegas, Michele received a paid internship opportunity with the Friends of Parkinson’s Disease Foundation. While she enjoyed the work, it was only a temporary position.

When her internship ended, her AARP coach asked her if she liked nonprofit work and would consider another paid internship with Goodwill’s Career Connection Center. Having enjoyed helping people while at the Friends of Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, Michele took the Goodwill internship not really knowing what to expect. Michele knew of Goodwill as a place to shop, but really knew nothing of our mission to end unemployment in Southern Nevada.

Michele began her internship with Goodwill’s Career Connections in May, 2017. As an intern she helped process paperwork, get job seekers set up on computers, and assisted Goodwill’s Career Coaches wherever she was needed. She was happy to work, but thrilled to help people like her who needed someone to help get a foot in the door with a local employer, like AARP had for her.

Michele excelled in her internship, building relationships with job seekers, helping them with resumes, job searches and more, while impressing Goodwill’s Career Connections Center staff. In late November of 2017, a position opened within the Human Resources department at Goodwill. Brad Devlin, a Goodwill Career Coach, immediately called Michele at home and told her he had personally vouched for her and she was going to be interviewed.

Based on her work as an intern, and the fact that the Career Connection’s team was cheering for her, Michele was offered and accepted the position. Today, Michele is the People Services Coordinator at Goodwill of Southern Nevada.

Michele feels blessed to not only have a job, but to have a job that help older workers like her, veterans, people with a documented disability, and more get jobs. Welcome to the team Michele!

Leave a Reply