Seeing Learning During the COVID-19 Pandemic as an Opportunity: Meet Maggie

The COVID-19 pandemic has touched everyone’s lives, and in particular has caused a negative ripple effect throughout the global economy. Pew Research reported that the pandemic caused over 14 million Americans alone to lose their jobs between February and May 2020. 

We spoke with Maggie, a young professional living in Nashville, TN, who was laid off from her administrative job in the early weeks of the nation’s shutdown. To help make ends meet she became a courier for the delivery service platform Postmates – her claim to fame is including personal notes on each of her deliveries. “Everyone needs an advocate and cheerleader – especially now. It’s a lot of fun having the chance to deliver food and hope at the same time!”

With this job, Maggie has been able to take advantage of learning on edX.  Postmates works with us to provide its couriers with access to the edX course catalog as a benefit. The couriers find value in learning and improving their future career prospects while working – and all with the flexibility of their own schedule. Interest in this program has been especially high due to the pandemic. 

Maggie told us that “furthering my education is something I’ve always wanted to do, but taking on the additional cost was a barrier. Having Postmates advocate for me in this way has been really powerful.” She enrolled in HarvardX’s Justice course, a philosophy and social justice course that has had some especially timely discussions looking critically at the news of today.

“In a moment like this it’s been difficult to see my path forward. I’m taking the time to dial back and ask ‘who am I and what do I really want.’” Maggie is now thinking about future career options in social work, customer service, or human resources. “The mental space that this course has afforded me has allowed me to broaden my horizons and think about opportunities I hadn’t considered before.”

Maggie sees learning on edX as more than just a resume builder – it’s helping her think about who the person is that she wants to be. “I’m excited that my future employer gets to meet this version of me. I’m more mentally resilient, and part of it is because of taking this course.”

An update from Maggie, March 2021: Since I first shared my story with edX, I've moved from Postmates into a role in Recruiting at Amazon. After 6 months, I was promoted from a contractor to a permanent employee, and I could not be more excited for this next step in my journey. A big part of making this next step came from the confidence and knowledge I gained from earning the TUMx Professional Certificate program in Six Sigma. The process improvement techniques I learned have put me on the fast-track for contribution and professional growth at Amazon, as it's a hugely data-driven company. Just a week after my promotion, I began my next Six Sigma course through edX. I have no doubt that these courses are a recipe for professional success - and it feels like it’s only the beginning!


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