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Fox Chapel

Fox Chapel Area Adult Education offers fresh start course for job-seekers

Tawnya Panizzi
| Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018, 12:10 p.m.
New Choices instructors Gail Ivey (far left) and Gail Hague (third from right) with recent graduates of the New Choices program, a career development class that is now available through Fox Chapel Area Adult Education. Class starts on March 6.
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New Choices instructors Gail Ivey (far left) and Gail Hague (third from right) with recent graduates of the New Choices program, a career development class that is now available through Fox Chapel Area Adult Education. Class starts on March 6.
New Choices instructor Nieves Stiker (left) presents a rose to participant Nancy Gmitter.
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New Choices instructor Nieves Stiker (left) presents a rose to participant Nancy Gmitter.

A career development program aimed at people seeking a fresh start is being offered through Fox Chapel Area Adult Education.

Classes start Tuesday for the course called Personalized Career Coaching that covers job searches, resumes, networking advice and interview techniques.

Sponsored by Pennsylvania Women Work's New Choices program, the course targets job-seekers looking for renewed confidence, said Julie Marx-Lally, executive director and CEO.

The course runs 10 sessions at Fox Chapel Area High School.

A Fox Chapel resident, Marx-Lally experienced the same life challenges as many of her clients. After divorcing in 2003, she found more challenges than expected while trying to resume her career and making up for family time off.

“As a single mom coming back to work, I would have loved to participate in a program like this,” she said. “New Choices would have made me feel much more prepared for the huge life change of striking out on my own, while looking out for my finances, my working life and my family.”

New Choices counselors focus on personal goals, confidence-building and emotional and financial recovery. Marx-Lally said these are “pieces of job-seekers' lives that have to come together in order to achieve stability and happiness in a career path.”

After beginning in the 1970s as a grassroots movement to support growing numbers of women as breadwinners, Women Work incorporated in 1993 and today serves men and women in 27 counties, including classrooms throughout the Pittsburgh area.

The program has grown in response to changes in the regional workforce, Marx-Lally said. In her five years as CEO, courses have been launched that are designed for young, urban parents, immigrants and refugees and professionals seeking mentorship and networking opportunities.

The group's short-term mentorship program, Three Cups of Coffee, is in its fourth year and has had strong results, Marx-Lally said. A recent survey of the program conducted through Chatham University found that 86 percent of participants attributed their new jobs directly to help they received from their mentors, she said.

“It may be a brief class, but the transformation that takes place is an amazing first step in the direction of new career opportunities,” Marx-Lally said.

“Once a woman or a man gets that first dose of renewed confidence, they begin to set goals and imagine new possibilities for themselves,” she said. “From there, success starts to snowball. That's what New Choices is really for: the confidence and clarity it takes to jump-start your career. That's what we specialize in.”

Tawnya Panizzi is a staff writer for the Tribune-Review. Reach her at 412-782-2121, ext. 2, tpanizzi@tribweb.com or via Twitter @tawnyatrib.

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