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A NOVA Success Story

NOVA customer Susan Edwards describes her experiences at NOVA and Promatch, a collaborative of NOVA and the California Employment Development Department.

“In January of this year, I decided to go back to work after 14 years at home taking care of my children.  Prior to my long hiatus, I had earned a degree in environmental engineering and had worked in environmental consulting for a number of years. When I started my job search, I had a very small network in the environmental field, a 20-year old resume, and very rusty networking and interviewing skills. 

Within the first week of my search, two different contacts recommended NOVA and ProMatch.  At my initial career counseling appointment, the counselor recommended that I attend the Career Exploration workshop to help me see if I qualified for training funds. As it turned out, the training that I wanted was not covered, but the process of assessing the job market and skills needed was invaluable and helped me formulate a plan for re-entering the workforce. As a first step, I decided to pay for the training I wanted myself, and spent the next few months taking training classes and attending as many NOVA workshops as I could. 

In early July, I joined ProMatch, and again, attended as many of the workshops as I could. I found many of these workshops very challenging.  I don’t think I will ever feel completely comfortable with PSRs [Problem Solutions Results exercise]. But I kept working on all of the skills, even those that I didn’t feel comfortable with. In late August, I started working with a small environmental consulting firm as an independent contractor, and because this job was for only a few hours a week, continued with ProMatch. In early October, I was offered a full time position at an environmental consulting firm.

NOVA and ProMatch were essential to my job search journey. I feel very lucky that I took the Career Exploration workshop early on because it really helped me figure out the local market for environmental engineers and how I wanted to fit into it. Also, I found the networking opportunities that ProMatch offered me to be invaluable. I met with a lot of people in the environmental field for informational interviews with contacts that I met through ProMatch. Finally, the community that ProMatch offers is unique and gives members the support needed to succeed during an often stressful time.”