County and state officials joined Brookdale President Dr. Maureen Murphy in honoring five inspiring Brookdale success stories during the 23rd annual Monmouth County Workforce Development Board (WDB) Alumni Awards, held Oct. 28 at the Sheraton Hotel in Eatontown.
The ceremony, which recognizes high-achieving Monmouth County residents who complete professional training programs offered through the county’s One-Stop Career Center, shined a spotlight on five individuals who completed programs through Brookdale’s division of continuing and professional studies.
Cindy Berman, Pamela Maurer-Egner, Emilia Ottinger and Susan Seide were each recognized for completing Brookdale’s Business Office Support Specialist (BOSS) program, an intensive, hands-on course that teaches vital computer skills including Microsoft Office and Quickbooks.
Eric Cheavers was recognized for completing Brookdale’s Audio and Visual Equipment training program.
All five honorees sought assistance from the One-Stop Center in an effort to start a new, rewarding career, and each was able to overcome significant adversity and a wide range of challenges to complete their training and ultimately find employment.
“I kind of felt like a dinosaur. I was lost, and I didn’t know where to turn,” said Seide, who after years as a real estate professional found herself without work following the economic crash of 2008. “I had always loved office work, but I didn’t know much about computers anymore. I didn’t think anyone would hire me.”
Seide, like each of her fellow honorees, sought assistance through the One-Stop Career Center, where she met a dedicated counselor who reassured her that everything would be ok.
“He said, ‘calm down.’ He walked me through everything, and he directed me to the BOSS program at Brookdale,” she said, adding that she qualified for grant funding through the One-Stop Center that allowed her to complete the BOSS program for free.
In the program, Seide not only learned the ins and outs of Outlook and Excel; she learned that she still has a lot to offer as an employee and a coworker. After completing the program earlier this year, Seide interviewed for a position as senior office assistant in Dr. Murphy’s office at Brookdale. She was hired on the spot.
“I had so much help and support in that program. Really, everywhere I’ve been at Brookdale I have had that support. I was able to learn so much. But, just as importantly, I was able to build my confidence,” Seide said.
“I learned that age is not a problem as long as you know what you are doing and you are confident in that knowledge…But it wouldn’t have been possible without that ‘hand-in-glove’ relationship of the One-Stop Center and Brookdale. I am so grateful.”
Seide wasn’t the only honoree to end up back at Brookdale after her training. Berman now works as a senior office assistant in the continuing and professional studies division.
To learn more about professional training opportunities at Brookdale, click here.
Learn more about Monmouth County’s One-Stop Career Center here.
(Featured Photo: Susan Seide, Cindy Berman and Pamela Maurer-Egner pose with their WDB Alumni Awards on Oct. 28)