THE BLOG
01/21/2013 09:15 am ET Updated Mar 23, 2013

Employment Solutions for Today's Economy

As we continue into what has been deemed by many to be a jobless recovery, more and more jobs are being replaced by technology, or the need for a person to fulfill the role has diminished. Case in point, years ago stand-alone registers with computers were placed in many grocery and home-improvements stores. At first customers were resistant to use them, but in time it has become a faster way, unless you make an error, of getting your stuff and getting out the door.

Bank tellers have been replaced by ATMs or an app on your phone. Some banks actually charge extra to do business with a real live person. Manufacturing and warehousing are using robotics, as is the medical field. Online shopping is easier and faster than driving to the store, fighting a crowd for a parking space, and waiting in line. Books are delivered wirelessly to your Kindle or Nook in just seconds.

Technology has also made the globalization of business easier. Call centers in India and other countries are commonplace (and annoying!). Customer service has been sacrificed for profit and cost reduction. With computers and cell phones, offices can be anywhere from home to the local Starbucks or Panera. Tom's shoes even had a commercial where the founder was working from the beach.

According to the Department of Education (2010-2011), high school graduation rates are between 59-88%. Interestingly enough, the District of Columbia came in with a rousing 59% graduation rate. This poses significant problems for employers who are facing large skills gaps as many people are leaving school early and are ill-equipped for jobs. Adding fuel to the fire, the under-educated are more likely to have lower paying jobs, become homeless, or need social services. According to the Bureau of labor statistics U-6 numbers, unemployment is just over 14% when you include people who work part-time who want full time-work and those who have given up.

Today's job market requires the use of technology. Job applications have moved online for over 50% of the nation's employers, computer knowledge is important for many industries including hospitality, retail, and warehousing. The job market for the uneducated appears to be shrinking, at least for jobs that pay a living wage.

What are the job seekers to do? What about those who are under-educated or have not kept their skills up to pace with the changing technology? Even the job applications are online and difficult sometimes even for the computer savvy. They certainly require the patience of a saint to complete. According to Preptel.com, 48% of resumes are never even seen by a recruiter. Adding to the concerns, in times of low unemployment, the interview process was limited and many people were hired. Some of the people easily hired in years past, cannot find a job in today's economy.

From entry level to professional, job seekers have had to learn basic job skills. Many of which are not taught in schools. Do you remember when you learned how to write a resume, interview, balance a checkbook, or about responsible credit in school? Being self- taught is possible, but difficult. Having a coach and teachers to help you increases your likelihood of finding a job dramatically.

There is a definite gap between the expectations from employers and the expectations and qualifications for the job seeker. Not only is the process to get in front of employers more difficult , the competition for open positions is high. Lower skilled workers are additionally faced with higher skilled individuals taking the jobs they are accustomed to getting.

In order to level the playing field and help more job seekers connect with the jobs that are open and they are qualified for, Christian HELP, a Central Florida non-profit organization has taken a very holistic approach to JobRaising and Job connecting. Services to job seekers include one-on-one counseling and coaching, community employment seminars, job skills classes, an online job board www.cfec.org, and large job fairs. After many months of research, focus groups with employers, counselors, and clients we have developed a 6 module course to tackle some of the underlying issues that keep people from being successful on the job, and also keep them from landing the right job in the first place.

The 6 module course focuses on:

Creating Your Job Search Plan: Addresses effective job search and career management strategies as well as common techniques to overcome the psychological effects when faced with unemployment.

Crafting Your Cover Letter and Resume: The second of six workshops cover the basic and advanced methods behind writing an effective resume and cover letter, and also provides examples and tips along to the way.

Networking in the Digital Age: According to a recent study conducted by Harvard University sociologist Mark Granovetter, 74.5% of all jobs come through networking. Series three is an ideal guide to get job seekers on the right networking path, and keep them there!

Job Search Tactics: This fourth of six workshops takes job seekers through each step of a digital job search. Everything from selecting an online job search site, creating an online profile, to uploading a resume is covered. Furthermore, alternative methods such as social networking, job fairs, and walk-ins are detailed.

Interviewing and Impressions: The fifth workshop breaks the interview process into a series of steps. This interview workshop is a guide to acing every aspect of the interview by realizing the many values and contributions a job seeker offers an employer.

Performance Excellence: The final workshop walks job seekers throughout the 90-day review period and beyond. Job seekers learn the meaning and process of on-boarding, develop conflict resolution skills, and examine the best practices to give and receive feedback.

For 21 years, Christian HELP has been devoted to preventing homelessness by helping people find jobs. As times have changed, Christian HELP continues to evolve and find more ways to help people not only obtain a job, but keep it as well. You can find more information about how to support our mission on our Crowdrise page here.

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