Pass It On programs are helping people every day in many ways. Karen Greer of the SHIFT Midternship Project shared one of their success stories with Jan Hively.
Nancy, age 55, lost her job as an Information Assistant in a local college during a workforce reduction process in 2011. She decided to change careers based on her personal experience as a caregiver for her parents who had lived in assisted living facilities over several years before they had passed on. Nancy knew how important it was for staff in care facilities to know how to connect with the residents. After the layoff, she decided that she wanted to work with residents and staff in senior care facilities.
Nancy heard about the Midternship Project at her city’s Workforce Center. The SHIFT Network, managed the Midternship program for people in midlife to try out new career pathways. Nancy connected with the staffers of the Midternship Project who helped her do some preliminary research about care facilities and plan for the classes she would need to take at the local Workforce Center and Technical College to prepare for this career shift. The Midternship staffers, who acted as third party brokers for internships for mature workers, made the initial contact for Nancy to meet with contact people at a few senior facilities to explore internship opportunities.
Nancy did end up interning (or “midterning” as the arrangement is known) for three months, working an average of 20 hours per week. Her contract stated that she would spend time with the residents, nursing assistants, nurses and household coordinators to get a full view of all that happens. She was also exposed to a new model for resident-care that allows more flexibility with the resident’s daily schedule. This exposure made a difference as she went forward after the Midternship with excellent ratings from her supervisor to find a “real” job.
Based on previous volunteer experience and her extensive Midternship, Nancy applied and was accepted for an Activities Assistant/Volunteer Coordinator at her volunteer care facility. A year later, she was upgraded to a Household Coordinator position. With support from the facility, Nancy completed the Health Support Specialist Program through a state aging services organization.
Nancy says “I do know I make a difference in the lives of the residents I serve. I can tell by the light in their eyes and the hugs I receive and some come right out and tell me they look forward to seeing me. Families have also told me how much they appreciate the special attention I give their loved ones. It is heart-warming. I’ve had other jobs I enjoyed but none were this meaningful.”
If you are interested in what it took to put together a Midternship Program, fill out a Program User Form. and send it to the Pass It On Network Coordinator.