Jean Fernandes Gets a Second Chance

Jean Fernandes, Mature Worker Program

Mature Worker Program

Authorized by the Older Americans Act, the Mature Worker Program (MWP) is a workforce development program that provides subsidized, service-based training for low-income, unemployed persons 55 or older.

To apply for services, contact the project office in the county nearest you to arrange an appointment. Click here to learn more about National Urban League's Mature Worker Program and how to apply.

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In April 2009, at the age of 53, I decided I wanted a career change.

During this time, I was caregiver to my father, mother and sister, all of whom were diagnosed with, and later passed away from, cancer. Despite some hardships, I remained hopeful that I could switch careers and find a new job.

I knew I would need job training to accomplish my new career goal, so I enrolled in several classes, including a six-week health care training program. With this training, I was able to secure a temporary position at Massachusetts General Hospital.

After working at Mass. General, I found myself back in the classroom. This time, enrolled in a computer training program, learning Microsoft Word, the Internet and email. I finished the course with a certificate for my work, but still no prospect of employment.

I knew God had a plan for me, but I was growing anxious in my wait. I was use to helping others, and now I found myself relying on my fiancé and children to survive.

At the risk of having one more door shut in my face, I decided to pursue another job training opportunity. I heard that the Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts (ULEM) offered employment assistance and job training for people my age and, like me, were unemployed and struggling to find work.

In March 2012, I participated in ULEM’s Mature Worker Program. I was anxious to start my community service training, and prayed that it would lead to an opportunity for employment. Seven months into my training, I was offered the position of case manager.

I am forever grateful to the Mature Workers Program for giving me a second chance and proving that change is possible, at any age.