The Silver Lining of a Pandemic
â€śMore people should think of community colleges when considering a career change. CCM was very affordable and I enjoyed my classes. I strongly recommend the Workforce Development courses and programs for those wanting to enhance their resume, advance in their job or be more informed before making a career change.â€ť
After the pandemic hit home in 2020, Erin Mortara lost her job working as an account executive at a public relations firm. Through the Center for Workforce Development at County College ofÂ Morris (CCM), however, she was able to launch into a new field. â€śI graduated college with a major in communications and worked for almost four years in consumer products PR,â€ť says Mortara. When she lost her position, she also realized that PR didnâ€™t excite her anymore. â€śI wanted to contribute my knowledge and skills toward helping people,â€ť she says. The 26-year-old then decided to change career tracks and to work for a nonprofit, but without any experience in that field, Mortara recalls, â€śI was unsuccessful in getting hired."
Through a Google search, she found CCMâ€™s Nonprofit Leadership Training Program. The introductory course, Navigate Nonprofit Fundraising, offered online through the Center for Workforce Development, sounded like a great start. Upon completing the course, Mortara recalled that her instructor Lauren Swern had talked about additional opportunities at CCM, including hands-on certificate programs. With her instructorâ€™s guidance and encouragement, Mortara forged ahead and enrolled in the Grant Writing Certificate Program. Professional grant writers and funders participate in the programâ€™s classes, evaluating studentsâ€™ proposals and offering tips on submitting successful grant applications. Mortaraâ€™s favorite part was meeting one-on-one with professional grant writers and funders to review assignments. â€śThis was extremely beneficial. It provided additional insight on important components of a grant and what reviewers look for when reading applications,â€ť explains Mortara. â€śWhen I heard positive remarks on my writing, I couldnâ€™t stop smiling. It was nice knowing that a professional saw potential in my work.â€ť
Mortara completed the program in four months and was hired by Main St. Counseling Center two months later.
â€śMore people should think of community colleges when considering a career change,â€ť she says. â€ťCCM was very affordable and I enjoyed my classes. I strongly recommend the Workforce Development courses and programs for those wanting to enhance their resume, advance in their job or be more informed before making a career change. I feel the skills I gained can be used throughout my entire career.â€ť