I would like to devote this blog to a recent personal experience, which was both an unexpected surprise and an enjoyable event in my career path. I was honored to be invited to speak as a panelist at the White House Job Clubs Forum on Sept 20, 2012. This once in a lifetime event came as a result of my involvement with job clubs in my area (I run a local job club through the Arnold Station Career Center and I assist job clubs in Anne Arundel County, MD). I hope by sharing this information, you might be encouraged to get involved in a job club near you. Job clubs offer support, networking and excellent resources for job seekers. They also help employers connect to qualified candidates. Most powerfully, they create an environment where members become contributors.
Visiting the Eisenhower Executive Office Building was a very unique experience. The intricate architecture and design was amazing from the outside all the way into the Indian Treaty Room where the event was held. Hope and excitement were in the air at the start and followed throughout the event. Administration officials shared Obama’s support for the job clubs initiative. One of the highlights was hearing Labor Secretary Hilda Solis’s words of encouragement to job club supporters and recognition of the power of job clubs.
The information and camaraderie were excellent. It was a great way to share information and make connections with others contributing to the job club movement. Panelists shared their learned experiences in running job clubs and the success clubs have shown in preparing people to get back to work. Topics included: the development of job clubs within faith-based communities, job club efforts within the workforce development system and model programs for the future of job clubs.
As I listened to the speakers throughout the day, I was reminded of the many ways job clubs touch peoples’ lives. There were accounts of employers working together with job clubs to fill positions. There were stories of tireless leaders who give their time to assist job seekers. There were chronicles of people who gained employment through a job club connection as well as those who stayed on to help the job club, after becoming re-employed. All of the speakers demonstrated that job clubs have the power to change people’s lives.
Job clubs are helping others make connections and access resources, moving people toward jobs and offering the support needed during a job search. They have always been around, but until now, they have not had the national recognition they received at this event. My hope is that this occurrence will create many ripples that will further this movement because job clubs are an important part of getting through these difficult economic times. Across the nation, they are helping people get back to work by providing support, hope and humanity to the un/underemployed. If you are in job search, I challenge you to attend a job club in your area.
To find a local job club near you, go to: https://partnerships.workforce3one.org/page/resources/1001107639349545113
To find out more about job clubs, go to the Department of Labor Center for Faith Based Neighborhood Partnerships homepage: https://partnerships.workforce3one.org/page/home
Kudos to Ben Seigel for organizing the event. His efforts are a great benefit to job clubs across America. He blogged and provided a nice summary of the event: