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Starling Community Services.

Never Too Late for Change


Elaine never dreamed that she would not retire from the financial institution where she had worked for more than 20 years. At the age of 60, her path took an unexpected turn.

When Elaine learned that her position was being eliminated, she was in shock. So close to retirement, she worried about the challenges of learning a new job and feared that her age would prevent employers from hiring her.

She researched different career options and saw that there was a large demand for medical office assistants in Guelph. She was intrigued by this but knew she would need to re-train and wasn’t sure where to start. She had heard of Employment Ontario’s Second Career program that provides laid-off workers with financial support to re-train in a new field, but didn’t think she qualified.

It wasn’t until she went to a local career fair that she found out about Lutherwood. After explaining her situation to the two staff there, they encouraged her to drop into Lutherwood’s Employment Resource Centre so they could review her eligibility for the Second Career program together and explore different opportunities that might be available to her. Their positivity and encouragement made Elaine feel hopeful, so she decided to give it a try.

After her initial visit with her Employment Advisor, Emma, Elaine discovered that she was in fact eligible for the Second Career program. Wasting no time, Emma guided her step-by-step through the application process and once accepted, helped her identify and apply to the Medical Office Practices program at Conestoga College.

Five months later, Elaine graduated and was qualified to work in a medical office. Emma helped her create her resume and cover letter, and helped her emphasize certain things that would be relevant to each different job she applied to. Immediately she started getting call-backs and interviews.

Throughout the process, Elaine appreciated that Emma stayed by her side every step of the way. “She was always positive and always encouraging. She wouldn’t let me get down,” said Elaine. “She was patient with me and was always available to answer questions and problem solve.”

Elaine has recently started work at a long-term care centre for seniors and is excited about her new beginnings. “Everyone is very friendly and I already feel at home there. I believe it will be a good fit for me,” she added.

When reflecting on her journey, Elaine is grateful for the new opportunities she has had and for the confidence she has gained thanks to the support from her Employment Advisor at Lutherwood. “I will no longer let my age be a barrier. I also know I’m not alone. If I ever need any job-related advice, Lutherwood is just a phone call away.”

Learn more about Lutherwood's Second Career program.

"Our case worker was an amazing resource and HUGE help to our whole family. I truly don’t know where we’d be today without her!"