A World of Possibilities
Aisha Boyd is an Employment Specialist at Project HOME’s Honickman Learning Center and Comcast Technology Labs.
When Diane Harley walked into her neighborhood library on Cecil B. Moore, she did not realize how an information card posted on the community bulletin would lead her employment search in a new direction. After over 35 years of working, the last few in a demanding job as a frontline manager in the insurance industry, she left employment to focus on caring for her ill mother, Diane took a part-time job with a Center City hospital. Feeling “inadequate” when attempting the new application processes and using computer software like Excel, Diane returned to Community College of Philadelphia to hone her skills. As her mother's illness progressed, Diane eventually left the workforce and put school on hold to care for her mother full-time.
After losing her mother three-and-a-half years later, Diane faced some barriers as she tried to navigate the new job market. As the “more mature adult” she describes herself to be, Diane found herself out of work for four years before her search took a turn for the better. While preparing to return to school and find new employment, Diane found herself spending extensive hours using the computer at her local Free Library. It was there that she noticed the information card for open computer lab hours and career training resources at the Honickman Learning Center and Comcast Technology Labs (HLCCTL). A short time later, she found herself walking through HLCCTL’s front doors into a world of new possibilities.
Ms. Harley’s visits to the computer lab lead her to join the facility’s photography class before being recommended to meet with Paul Dunnaville, an HLCCTL job coach. Diane recalls, “I had some doubts about myself, but Paul really encouraged me to work on my resume and focus on my greatest strengths.” Diane explained that if it were not for Paul's encouragement she would not have been as motivated to navigate her career barriers. “He told me not to worry about the skills I didn't have… To focus on the skills that I do have and one of those is working with people.”
After an enlightening discussion on how integrating mixed generations within the workplace could benefit a company's work culture, Diane glowed about how she became aligned with the opportunity she had been looking for. Just one course shy of graduation, Diane will complete her Associate’s Degree in Liberal Arts as a stepping stone to her bachelor’s degree. In preparation, she has already been accepted to Temple University, St. Joseph’s University, and Chestnut Hill College’s Social Work programs.
This August will mark the one year anniversary of Diane’s successful employment as a valued member of a company granted the Top Workplaces Award by the Washington Post in 2016 and 2017. She proudly serves as an Executive Concierge for one of the company’s renowned residencies and plans to pursue Real Estate Sales. She is truly an example of how perseverance can eradicate self-doubt.