My Story: Pamela Johnson

Goodwill® is celebrating National Employ Older Workers Week – September 24 – 30, 2023 – which recognizes the vital role of older workers in the workforce and innovative strategies to increase awareness of this community. In recognition of the valuable contributions and achievements made by employees ages 55 and older, Goodwill is once again proud to take part in the annual commemoration.

After multiple strenuous job searches, Pamela felt further away from her dream than ever. She cared deeply about her community and always saw herself in a career where she could focus on improving the world.

In May 2023, Pamela stumbled upon an advertisement for the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) at Goodwill Industries of Michiana (South Bend, IN). She enrolled in the program and created an individualized career plan with a Goodwill SCSEP Guide.

“Since entering our offices, Pamela always displayed a steady curiosity for new skills acquisition. We often talked about how it is never too late to be energized about the opportunities and possibilities of progress or work to achieve the feeling of dreams fulfilled,” says Ruth Hooker, Goodwill of South Bend’s SCSEP Program Coordinator.

Pamela first started as a receptionist at the front desk. She was quickly an asset and started to learn new job skills in her position. Pamela explained that her training in this position helped to build her confidence, increase her digital fluency and teach her digital skills in context.

Consistent with her employment goals, Pamela continued to perform various administrative duties, which included phone, email, calendar management, internal communications, maintaining office supplies and engaging with new participants.

Over time, Pamela began to play a vital role in helping future SCSEP participants gain a better understanding of the SCSEP while encouraging them to continue to dream big just like she did.

Her work ethic, positive attitude and attention to detail did not go unnoticed. After three months of paid community service and job training, Pamela was offered permanent employment with the Area IV Agency on Aging as a program assistant/receptionist, where she is still working today.

Proud of the work she has done and the support she received along the way; Pamela talks excitedly about now being able to help others achieve their dreams.

All older workers deserve the opportunity to thrive. Goodwill helps older Americans through paid training, upskilling, ongoing support and assistance in finding jobs that provide livable wages.

If you are an older adult seeking help with training or paid work experience, contact your local SCSEP representative to see if you qualify. Find a SCSEP location near you to see if you qualify.

Anyone looking to learn more about Goodwill job training programs or career search assistance can also contact their local Goodwill.