CLEVELAND — At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 33 million people were out of work.
Reta Sober and Beverly Allen were two of them.
Sober, before the coronavirus hit, was a translator. Unfortunately, everyone had to cut back.
"How do I shift gears," she asked. "Because obviously, I need a job because I need to pay my bills. That was just a question of figuring out what my marketable skills were."
After learning about the demand for software programmers, she thought it might be an option.
"I do have a knack for languages," Sober said. "I tend to notice the patterns and pick them up pretty well. And a lot of coding is looking at [what] is just a code, just like languages."
Allen was a flight attendant for 32 years but took an early buyout when the airline industry was grounded.
Much like Sober, Allen wasn't sure what to do next.
We set her up with Career Transition Coach Nancy Karas who told her to list all the skills she used at Delta and see which industries needed them.
"All of that stuff is the work that consultants are sent out to do," Karas said. "Today's market is really in need of people who are able to assess, evaluate and then strategically implement and initiate programs and direction."
It took Allen four months to find the right fit, but she was hired as an operations specialist with fitness company Peloton, training customers on how to use their equipment.
"I love her suggestion of making a list," Allen said. "Doing my research on the companies, what am I passionate about, and will I be happy working for a company based on diversity and inclusiveness. Being able to answer specific question as to how a company is doing, that was really important"
Allen travels an hour and a half to work, so it takes sacrifice, but she says it's worth it.
"When I looked outside of my zip code that I lived in, I was able to find something," she said. "So you may have to be a little more flexible and patient."
Sober also sacrificed. Boot camp takes 14 weeks and cost her more than $7,000 after tuition assistance. It paid off, however, because she got a job just two weeks after graduation.
"It definitely was the most intensive of the training that I've done. I worked nearly full time during my master's program and would not have been able to make that work with Tech Elevator."
Karas' advice to anyone who lost their job is that "It's not rejection, it's redirection." Which is how both Sober and Allen landed on their feet.
"You may not think you're a good fit," Allen said, "when in fact you really are."
Editor's note: the video in the player above is from a previously published story.