With a medical degree from Russia, Jane Updyke moved to the United States unsure of where to begin her job search. She was spending hours just trying to find places to submit her resume.
“I have an extensive work background, but I could not get a handle on the processes for applying for jobs. I had a really hard time,” Jane remembered.
She signed up for New Choices in 2017, where she received real-time advice, worked on her resume, and learned the ins and outs of the job search and application processes. However, her career was still stuck.
“New Choices was so helpful, all of the processes for applying to jobs were made clear, so I jumped into the Customer Service course next. Following, my networking was still lacking, so I signed up for 3 Cups of Coffee,” Jane said.
Jane’s mentor, a hiring manager at UPMC, helped her land a part-time position as an interpreter for pharmaceutical work with global care patients. Jane enjoyed this opportunity, but when she got pregnant, she jumped back into her job search to look for a full-time position with benefits.
“Thanks to my experience with PA Women Work, I knew my tools, I knew how to find opportunities, and I knew how to network,” Jane shared.
From there, Jane’s career took off. Over the past few years, Jane has climbed the ladder and is now an ENT Therapy Implementation Manager at Smith & Nephew – a job she truly loves. “PA Women Work gave me the boost I needed and helped me gain confidence. Throughout my career, I have used the tips, tricks and advice I learned from my mentor and facilitators,” Jane reflected.
Now that Jane is thriving in her career, she became a monthly giver through PA Women Work’s Coffee Club to allow more women to get connected with life-changing career development support. We are so honored to have Jane in our circle!
Thank you to our 3 Cups of Coffee funders who make stories like Jane’s possible: 3 Cups of Coffee funders: Arconic Foundation, FedEx Ground, J.Jill Compassion Fund, The Jack Buncher Foundation 3 Cups of Coffee GRAD funders: American Eagle Outfitters Foundation, Snee-Reinhardt Charitable Foundation
After working in manufacturing for three years without a salary increase, Sara Ndayisaba, a foreign-born citizen and mom of four children, knew she needed a change. “I didn’t know where to start. I needed something that would support us financially, help us buy a home, and fit in with our schedule,” Sara explained.
Sara learned about Pennsylvania Women Work through a friend. After getting connected to Program Manager, Kristen Tsapis, Sara began her participation in the RISE program, a service that helps refugees and immigrants navigate the American workforce and achieve financial stability.
“I wanted to apply for UPMC’s Environmental Services training program, but when I started the application on my own, I couldn’t finish it,” Sara explained. “Kristen sat down with me for almost three hours and walked me through it. It was so helpful.”
A few short weeks later, Sara was accepted into the program. While the program was paid, Sara decided to continue working her full-time manufacturing job throughout the training. “I was working so hard. I went from the training, straight to work. At the end of the program, I felt so happy,” Sara said. “The training ended on a Friday, and I began my new job at Mercy Hospital on Monday.”
Sara started her new job in February 2020, and after a year, she and her husband had enough money to buy a house for their family. “I continued to be in touch with Kristen, and when we were moving and didn’t yet have Internet set up, Kristen even helped me get my kids registered for school,” Sara said.
With plans to build her own career as her children get older, Sara continues to spread the word about the RISE program to her friends, family and neighbors. “I send everyone to PA Women Work who needs help. Kristen is a good person – she is such a helper,” Sara insisted. “I owe PA Women Work so much for helping me get to where I am today.”
At age 57, Diana Monaco’s quality assurance position of nearly a decade was eliminated during the Covid-19 pandemic. It was her plan to stay there until retirement, so she felt depleted as she grappled with what to do next.
“It was very scary. During Covid, no one was hiring. With my health and medical issues, I can’t be on my feet all day, so I needed to find the right opportunity for me,” Diana remembered.
Diana hadn’t participated in an interview in over nine years, and the entire process of applying for jobs was intimidating to her. After job hunting for almost 12 months, she came across Pennsylvania Women Work scrolling on Facebook in February 2021 and decided to sign up for New Choices.
During the five-day virtual workshop, Diana fine-tuned her resume, learned skills for submitting job applications, and connected with other job-seekers in the community. However, she was most grateful for the job interviewing tips and practice.
“It really helped me with interviewing and put me into the mode to answer questions easier. During some mock interviews, they asked the tough questions, and it really helped me prepare,” Diana said.
Just after taking New Choices, Diana participated in what would be the final interview of her job search. Using the new skills she gained with PA Women Work, Diana landed a job in Quality Assurance with Summerville High Position Tubing.
“This was an absolutely wonderful experience. By the end of the week, you could see the improvements and change in all of us. During the pandemic, I felt so out of touch, and this really helped me interact with people and get back out there,” Diana said.
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