Women’s Opportunity Center helping mothers get back into the workforce

Local News

LIVERPOOL, N.Y. (WSYR-TV)– Mothers and caretakers have been challenged in unimaginable ways this past year, but adapting isn’t new for them.

After working 25 years as a teaching assistant, Cherise Hunter was laid off in 2019. Since then, she’s had to come up with new ways to make a living, all while raising her now 11-year-old granddaughter.

“So, my granddaughter is sitting next to me doing school work and I’m sitting next to her doing work, you know it was different,” she said.

But, with the help of the Women’s Opportunity Center, a non-profit working to get women back into the workforce, Hunter was able to land a job.

However, for other caretakers some haven’t been as lucky. 

“We’re dealing with a higher than acceptable rate of women that have lost their jobs in order to make sure their children were taken care of because the education system had to change how they do business,” Amy Canavan, Program Coordinator of the WOC said. 

Since the pandemic started, women in the workforce have been disproportionately impacted. According to Pew Research 11.5 million women lost their jobs between February and May 2020 as compared to 9 million men. 

And on the flipside of that, many moms are finding themselves in need of a job. 

“We have so many women that are out there right now that have been the stay at home mom and their spouse has lost their job so they need to find marketable skills to get back into the workplace,” Canavan said. 

She said they are seeing college-educated women seek their services including PhD candidates. 

“Every demographic has been impacted by this and the moms are the ones that are trying desperately to pull it all together,” she said.

Hunter said she’s continuing to use the training services at the WOC to broaden her skills as she recently opened up her own business. 

“Once you come here it becomes a family, it’s not just a place,” she said.

And the WOC is working to meet their clients where they are, adapting their classes to be offered online and in-person. 

Helping to celebrate the strength and resilience of all women this Mother’s Day. 

“The work that a mother does is that of a miracle worker and a warrior and if this past year has shown us anything it’s that our patience can be tested and we can survive anything the world throws our way,” Canavan said.

The WOC offers various job readiness training classes in Ithaca and Liverpool. To find out more you can give them a call at (607) 272-1520 or email them at info@womensopportunity.org

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