Finding Her Voice
Women in Transition program helps Laura Stasik find a path to a secure future
Laura Stasik, who turned 59 in April, has always had jobs — secretary, data entry, restaurant work — but she’s never had what she would call a career.
“I spent most of my life saying I don’t know what I what to be when I grow up,” she said.
Now a soon-to-be graduate of the Captioning and Court Reporting program at Cuyahoga Community College’s Western Campus, Stasik is ready to change that. She recently accepted a job at Parise & Associates Court Reporters in Cleveland armed with an associate degree in Applied Business.
The road there began in her 40s, when Stasik moved back into her childhood home in Brooklyn to care for her parents, both diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Several years later, circumstances forced her and her siblings to move their parents to a professional care facility and sell the house.
“At that point, I had to decide what I wanted to do with my next chapter,” Stasik said. The cost of her parents’ care opened her eyes, and she wanted to secure enough income to save for her own eventual retirement. “I didn’t want to be a homeless person in the street in my 70s or 80s.”
A counselor pointed her toward Tri-C’s Women in Transition program, which aims to empower women to move forward through education and skills training. Through WIT, she met Kelly Moranz, director of the College’s Captioning and Court Reporting program, who suggested a path that would both pay well and capitalize on Stasik’s existing secretarial skills.
She began classes, but after a year in the program she became worried. She wasn’t keeping up on her stenography speed tests. Moranz suggested she switch to voice.
“With voice, you already know how to talk,” Stasik said. “You just have to learn how to speak clearly and quickly, and you still have to repeat in short-term memory what was just said before you spit it out, while still listening to the next thing.” Stasik never looked back.
“I was struggling with 80 or 100 words per minute in steno,” she said. “I started in on voice and was passing 140.”
Rather than disrupting her progress, Stasik said pandemic restrictions during her final year at Tri-C helped her. “I was already online for most of my classes anyway,” she said. “COVID just helped me really stay focused. I didn’t have the luxury of getting together with friends, getting together with family.”
She can’t say enough about WIT. “It covers so many things that are lacking in education,” she said. “I would recommend it for anybody who is on the fence about anything in their life.”
Story written by Michael von Glahn.
Cuyahoga Community College will celebrate the academic achievements of its newest graduates during commencement, June 9 at Byers Field at Robert M. Boulton Stadium in Parma. Check our News and Events page leading up to the event as we highlight members of the Class of 2021.
June 04, 2021
Erik Cassano, 216-987-3577 or email@example.com