Sylvia Bernert faced extreme adversity from the beginning of her life, being born into an impoverished family in India and living with them on the street.
At age 2, a tragic accident in her village caused her to lose her left eye. Eventually, she became legally blind. She lived by begging until she was placed in an orphanage. At age 5, she was adopted and came to the United States.
By the time she was a teenager, Bernert was helping care for other children who joined the family. “I learned to do all sorts of things children don’t ordinarily have to do, such as cooking, cleaning and getting everyone off to school or church.”
After graduating from high school, she worked at various jobs and then took several years off from the work force to raise a family.
But taking so many years off, it became challenging for her to return to the workforce and then find better employment opportunities. After following promptings in her life, she discovered the Church’s Employment Services. The resources helped her get the job that she now has.
Church Employment Services is online at Employment.ChurchofJesusChrist.org and in several employment centers physically located throughout the U.S. and Canada.
“I got involved in the Active Job Search program. It was a long six months, but I learned a lot,” Bernert said, who now lives in Taylorsville, Utah.
The Active Job Search program serves as a networking tool for those looking for new or better employment. Those in the program share job leads, receive support and practice job-search skills.
Bernert worked with the Employment Services missionaries and job coaches on how to build interview skills and fine tune her resume.
She began interviewing with a company and had set her hopes on a certain job — but learned the company had hired someone else.
“I was really discouraged,” she said. “I thought, ‘Well, no one will want to hire me.’ But my employment advisers encouraged me, and I asked the company to keep me in mind if another position came open.”
A week later, she interviewed for her current job and was then hired.
During that time of unemployment and searching for a job, Bernert learned perspective.
“It just goes to show that we don’t see the full picture sometimes,” she said. “A job may seem right, but maybe it’s not the right fit and there is something better for us, and there are people willing to give us a chance.”
In fact, a few months after she started working, she was given a spotlight award from her supervisor.
“My motto now is, ‘I always find a way.’”
About Employment Services
The Caring for Those in Need annual report from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints outlined how in 2022, thousands of job seekers accessed self-help resources and joined in groups focused on increasing job-search skills and networking.
Through Employment Services, they learned skills such as how to create a resume, interview for a job and search for work. For example, the Active Job Search program serves as a networking tool for those looking for new or better employment. Those in the program share job leads, receive support, and practice job-search skills.
Resources are also available for employers, schools, small businesses, stakes and wards, but the services are available for anyone, whether they are a member of the Church or not.
Interested individuals can visit Employment.ChurchofJesusChrist.org.