“After a while I couldn’t lift those boxes and the cabinet fumes affected my breathing,” Lucich, 43, said. “I needed a job that can last me for the next 20 years seeing as how I need to work that much longer.”
But with 20 years behind her of warehouse experience, the Sparks resident’s chances of working in such an environment weren’t great without more education. A period of unemployment led her to a non-profit training agency called Job Opportunities in Nevada, which then directed her to the Soroptomist International of Truckee Meadows. Both organizations offered her a chance to learn new skills and remake herself as an office professional. Today, she is in her third month working a temp job in customer service with Anthem Blue Cross’ Kelly Services in Reno.
She spoke of her experiences at a recent seminar called “Women Moving Forward” for those in search of employment but who need the resources or the right direction to find it.
The seminar is geared toward women who face challenges in their personal and professional lives in pursuing opportunities for themselves and their families, said Jennifer Crowe, SITM club spokesperson.
“It focuses on women who have been displaced from the workforce for a variety of reasons, whether they’re getting out of prison or escaping domestic violence,” Crowe said. “Whatever it is, they’re trying to get familiar with what modern-day employers are looking for.”
Women Moving Forward is one of SITM’s annual service projects to make an impact on the community, Crowe said. Partnering with Job Opportunities in Nevada (JOIN), a non-profit job training agency, the day-long session consists of a series of workshops on job applications, basic management, career counseling and the “Clothes Closet.” The closet, a room at the seminar in which women can find new clothes for job interviews and the workplace, is filled with donations from SITM members and their friends, Crowe said.
“We do a little fashion show with work-appropriate shopping so they leave not just with job skills but with clothes they need,” she said.
The assistance is a breath of relief for women overcoming harder days in the past, trying to succeed in the present economic climate, Crowe past.
“Some are the primary breadwinner for their household,” she said. “Some have a husband or children or they’re the head of the household.”
Lucich attended the first Women Moving Forward seminar last year. She shared that coming from a small town, overcoming trouble with drugs and alcohol and becoming pregnant with her son when she was 21, were all obstacles she battled as a young adult.
“Just because something bad happens to doesn’t mean you can’t rise above it,” she said.
She said she didn’t perform as well in school in her younger years as she could have, but has now acquired skills to make her more suited for office work.
“I was so inspired by the speakers and they taught me interviewing skills and making a resume look professional, which mine wasn’t,” she said. “They sent me to a fast-track school ... and I got my certification.”
She hopes to work her way up to a position in medical coding and billing, but for now, Lucich is much happier and feels more confident about herself and her qualifications.
“I don’t think I should be stuffing things in boxes anymore,” she said. “It was just too hard for me being on cement. I had an opportunity to go back to school and I did.”
Lucich has earned a place among her peers in SITM as a poet and summarized her experiences best in her most recent poem, “Believe and Achieve.”
“Believing that I can reach any goal,
It doesn’t matter how young or old.
In life there is only one test:
Anyone can pass if you just do your best!”
For more information about SITM, visit www.sitmnv.org or request for information at: Soroptimist International of Truckee Meadows, P.O. Box 20125, Reno, Nev. 89515.