BY AMANDA BATES | PHOTO BY LAURA WATILO BLAKE
It is this experience – the path to balancing motherhood with her professional life – that granted Campbell the perspective to grow Women in Transition (WIT) into what it has become. Now in it’s 37th year, WIT is a free eight-week program offered through Cuyahoga Community College.Its mission is to guide women through transitional periods, and empower them to move forward with their career goals and personal development.
“We are really helping them figure out what they want to be when they grow up, because it’s never too late to figure that out,” Campbell, who is the Director of the program, says. WIT now operates at four Tri-C campuses, including its newest location at Corporate College West in Westlake.
Campbell’s role as director is two-fold. The first is boosting awareness of WIT, in the college community and in Northeast Ohio in general.
“I want to make sure the community knows that we exist – we are a hidden gem,” Campbell says.
She also ensures that the WIT students are familiar with all of the services the program offers, and that they feel comfortable on a college campus.
The program is open to the public, and welcomes any woman at a crossroads in her life. This ensures that classes, which range from 10 to 25 participants, are truly diverse. Campbell says WIT sees women from all walks of life: divorcees, single moms, those battling substance abuse, and those who want to simply improve their prospects for future employment.
Doreen Papajcik, for example, is a nurse practitioner in her mid-50s. She currently works part time, but is seeking full-time employment at a job that lets her utilize all of the skills and knowledge she’s gained over the course of her career.
Papajcik is currently enrolled in WIT’s Westlake program, and wants to ensure she is the best possible candidate for her next employer.
With workshops that focus on resume building, computer literacy and interview skills, Papajcik is confident the WIT program will help her land a job she loves.
“I would recommend it for anybody,” Papajcik says. “It’s a great opportunity to step back and re-evaluate.”
Self-assessment is a major part of the program, according to Campbell.
“We ask them: What are your passions?
What is your learning style? What is your communication style?” Campbell says. “We take them through those pre-employment steps.”
WIT offers daytime and evenings programs so that working women are still able to participate. Looking ahead, Campbell hopes to develop off-site locations to reach women who might not be able to make it to one of Tri-C campuses.
Currently, about 200 women graduate from the WIT program each year. Campbell says she frequently has past students come back to their office to share how they have been moving forward.
“Our relationship goes beyond the eight weeks,” Campbell says. “It really is a great support system – to realize we are not alone.”
For more information: tri-c.edu/women-in-transition
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