A New Career in 20 Months

“I started my new job the Monday after I graduated.”

Elizabeth Proulx ’18 finished her academic journey with a bang. After 20 months of hard work and studying, the Chicopee, MA, resident earned her degree and joined Viability Inc. as a recruiting and human resources coordinator.

Photo of Elms/HCC grad Elizabeth Proulx '18, who earned a degree in business management and marketing

Viability — an organization that helps people with disabilities find fulfilling jobs in the service industry — was a perfect fit for Elizabeth.

“I love the culture, I love the mission,” she said. “Being part of an organization that’s in human services and helps the greater good of other people — that’s an amazing opportunity for me.

“I don’t think it would have been possible without my degree.”

Family Role Model

Elizabeth earned her bachelor’s degree in business management and marketing in spring 2018. Although she admits that the off-campus program at Holyoke Community College (HCC) was challenging, the benefits of her studies outweighed the costs.

“You just have to find a good work-life balance and have dedication,” she said. “Give yourself certain times during the week to do your homework, study, take your tests, and finish any assignments you need to complete.”

“I liked that the program was just one day per week, so I could still work full time,” she added.

A proud wife and mother of two, Elizabeth also said that her family was a huge motivator for her.

“My goal with my kids is to show them that hard work and dedication can get you far in life, and that you have to be willing to take the risk,” she said. “It’s never too late to go back to school, no matter what your age.”

“A Passion for HR”

HR has always been her passion, but Elizabeth appreciated the different perspectives on business that she gained from her classes. Entrepreneurship and sales management in particular stood out to her, because they introduced her to new ideas.

“You learn from every single professor,” she said. “Also, you can’t help but bond with your peers. You’re all sacrificing the same things for the same goal.”

As if studying on an accelerated schedule wasn’t enough, Elizabeth also took an extra step to make sure that she stood out on the job market once she graduated. She proactively reached out to Employers Association of the North East in Agawam, MA, to ask about internship opportunities. Her hustle was well-rewarded, as she worked for the association for four months.

During this time, she reviewed and updated different policy manuals that members of the association posted online. Working with so many different HR documents deepened her knowledge of her field.

“There were hundreds of them,” Elizabeth recalled. “It was a great opportunity for me to read about policies I wasn’t familiar with, or to brush up on ones that I wasn’t certain about.”

In her current role, Elizabeth translates the knowledge she gained in the Elms/HCC program to perform background checks and onboard candidates. She also manages Viability’s job postings across a number of online resources and websites.

For people considering going back to school to earn their degree, Elizabeth’s advice is to take a leap of faith.

“Go for it — the 20 months flies by,” she said. “Before you even know it, you’ll be graduating and you’ll look back at how much it was all worth it in the end.”

Are you considering going back to school to earn your degree? Elms College offers a range of off-campus programs at community colleges throughout western Massachusetts and Connecticut. Contact us to learn more.