Ambassadors spread Southwest message to church group seeking job help

A group of Southwest community relations ambassadors shared the mission of Southwest and the College's many available career training programs at Bellevue Baptist Church's Career Transitions group on July 18.

Southwest Community Relations Ambassador Ron Wells told the Career Transitions Group at Bellevue Baptist Church that you are never too old to go back to college.

Southwest Community Relations Ambassador Ron Wells at Bellevue Baptist Church's Career Transitions group.

The group consists of older adults who are either unemployed, under-employed, or are looking to change careers. One of the attendees, Jan Fulenwider, is a bookkeeper who has experience using QuickBook and payroll, but is looking for full-time work. “I’d like to get back in to accounting,” Fulenwider said. Matt Younger, who recently earned his MBA degree and worked in retail management for eight years, is also looking for something full-time. “I’ve been doing real estate, but I need something with some steady income,” Younger said.

Millington Center Director Ron Wells told the group about Career in a Year certificate programs in fields such as early childhood education and accounting that prepare graduates immediately to enter the workforce in one year or less. “These are certificates that make you marketable in Memphis and our area,” Wells said. “These are careers you can get that are in high demand with the likelihood of employability right away.” Wells, a retired Navy veteran, added that you are never too old to go back to college. “I got my degree when I was 43 and my masters when I was 62,” Wells said.

Daphne Thomas, executive director of communications, marketing, and community relations, said even people with an education or who have worked long in other careers sometimes need to be re-educated to deal with the changes in technology and the demands of today’s workforce. “And that is what we do at Southwest,” Thomas said. “At the end of the day it is about getting a job. That’s why we are here.”

Suzanne Gibson, director of community programs and engagement, said Southwest offers many on-line classes and certificates that can lead to careers in areas like medical billing and coding, or as a dialysis technician, or EKG technician, plus many courses in continuing education that are offered on campus as well. “There are culinary classes. There’s photography. There’s foreign languages. We have a motorcycle class that is really popular,” Gibson said. “Another popular class is Excel 1, 2, and 3, considered to be a professional career changer.” One new area in high demand by many businesses is voice over talent.  “There are so many careers and part-time work that you can get for voice over talent,” Gibson said. “They need voices for apps. They need voices for video games. So many different things. They are begging for talent.”

Career Specialist Cortney Ward concluded by telling the group that there are also many support services available to them at Southwest like resume writing, paid internships, and job interviewing skills. “I’m glad we are here today and can help you all get job readiness skills,” Ward said. “I wish I had that when I was coming out of college.”

Southwest’s community relations ambassadors are made up of faculty and staff who volunteer their time to spread the College's mission, success stories, and resources at jobs fairs, churches, high schools, and civic organizations.

If you would like to become a community relations ambassador or know of an organization interested in hosting a Southwest presentation or information booth, contact Klaudia Kroboth in the Communications, Marketing & Community Relations Department at kikroboth@southwest.tn.edu or 901-333-4024.


Daphne Thomas and fellow community relations ambassadors spoke to a group of older adults looking for jobs or job re-training at Bellevue Baptist Church.

Suzanne Gibson introduced online classes and fun continuing education classes like culinary arts and foreign languages to the Career Transitions Group.

Suzanne Gibson introduced online classes and continuing education classes like culinary arts and foreign languages to participants of the Career Transitions Group.