Seema Selmar
Seema Selmar (David Selmar)

The program has helped approximately 2,000 find a new direction for their working lives since its launch in the 1980s.

For Seema Selmar, her chosen career path to become a lawyer hit a speed bump early on. She was living in Israel where she had just started her undergraduate law degree, when her family decided to move back to the U.S. With law being a postgraduate subject in the U.S., Selmar had to choose another profession to study, landing on business and ultimately becoming a credit analyst in New York.

Then came marriage to David and seven children, including one with special needs, so Selmar’s career was put on hold while she brought up her family.

Selmar of Oak Park, a member of Dovid Ben Nachum Synagogue and affiliated with Yeshivah Gedolah, eventually worked part time as a teacher. However, she “kept going back to my initial career idea, something in the legal field, but I didn’t know how to make that work,” she said.

Six years ago, Selmar heard about Women to Work, a four-week course run by JVS Human Services that provides critical skills to women who have been out of the workforce. Participants are given a myriad of resources vital to securing a job. The program has helped approximately 2,000 find a new direction for their working lives since its launch in the 1980s.

For Selmar, now 63, the program led training in civil and domestic mediation, and she now works as a volunteer for the Oakland Mediation Center and is considering opening her own mediation business.

Judy Richmond, Women to Work coordinator, says there has never been a more important time for her program. “The pandemic has hit women in the workforce especially hard. Some have had to stay home with children when schools were closed, others were in jobs which simply dried up as businesses closed,” Richmond said. “Learning new and vital skills can make all the difference to finding work quickly.”

The next virtual session of Women to Work runs from April 20-May 13 and includes eight sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m.-noon. For more information and to register, contact Richmond at (248) 233-4232 or jrichmond@jvshumanservices.org.