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Never Too Late For New Start

February 23, 2012
By ZACH MACORMAC - Staff Writer , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

Marjorie Klemm didn't have the opportunity to start college right after high school, but when she did, she found she was not the only person her age in the classroom.

Klemm is now a tax class instructor for H&R Block and owned MAK Accounting Service, which operates out of her home. She started her business in the late 1980s.

For some time before that, she worked as the assistant business manager and adjunct instructor for West Virginia Northern Community College after earning a two-year office administration degree there and a four-year business degree from West Liberty University.

But before her education, she was a controller at the former Clarke Paper Co. in South Wheeling until she lost her job when it was sold to a Pittsburgh company.

So is it too late for people in their 50s and beyond to start a new career or business?

In Klemm's case, that answer is no. She recalled many of the people in her classes at West Virginia Northern were laid off steelworkers who had no choice but to find a new path.

Fact Box

Q: Is it too late for someone in their 50s to start a new career or a new business?

A: It's never too late to be an entrepreneur or to start a new career. Local universities and community colleges offer classes and information on how to start anew should circumstances dictate.

"I had seen so many people who were laid off who got a new start," she said.

After she got her degrees and started her work with the college, she noticed it was around that time that nursing became a very popular career path for those less than two decades from retirement.

WVNCC career planning and placement counselor Candice Stadler said the trend may still ring true, noting there are a variety of age groups represented in the college's nursing department. However, the older students' reason for entering the classroom might not commonly be "laid off" like it was when Klemm took classes. Stadler said affordable community college courses have trained middle-aged adults for new careers that can maintain their families until they are old enough to retire.

"Thank God for Northern," Klemm said. "I'm a firm believer that anyone can start a new career no matter their age."

 
 

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