Losing your job is considered one of life’s six most stressful events. Patty Kohany has been learning that first-hand after facing a layoff. Despite having a Master’s degree and a diverse work history, Kohany has been out of work for several months. She has been learning a lot about herself and the employment market through Jobs 2010. It is providing her with a support group of people in the same predicament. Flagstaff was singled out for Jobs 2010 through a Governor’s Council on Workforce Policy grant. Yuma was the only other city to receive money. Coral Evans, city councilwoman and executive director at The Sunnyside Neighborhood Association, wrote the stimulus funded grant, bringing the $62,402 to the local program.
The Jobs 2010 website, http://flagworks.org, lists services for job seek- ers, employers, and people who are looking to
become an indispensable employee. “There is an incredible array of services that are there for the taking,” said Jobs 2010 Director Kathy Turner. The website’s calendar section lists 26 events in August, and they are free to anyone.
The economic downturn has significantly affected the local workforce, says Carol Curtis, director of Coconino County’s Career Center. “At the start of this year, Flagstaff’s unemployment rate was 9.4 percent, up from 6.9 percent the year before,” said Curtis. Unemployment in the county has been in the double digits. “And people with master’s degrees are looking for jobs alongside people who haven’t finished school,” said Curtis, referring to the especially competitive job market.
Coral Evans says Jobs 2010 is important for local businesses as well as job hunters. “The tools here can not only help them locate good employees,” said Evans, “they also train and provide extra skill development for [current] employees at no cost.” These times create the need for the people who have kept their jobs to become indispensable, she added.
Evans calls Jobs 2010 a cutting edge pro- gram because of the many partnerships and the program’s comprehensiveness. “I think this is the first time we have had such a coordinated effort to bring workforce development programs and businesses together,” she said. “The idea for Jobs 2010 started as an initiative last year to stimulate the knowledge and utilization of workforce development programs and services in the greater Flagstaff area.” A committee was created that including non- profits, the Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce, larger employers like WL Gore and Nestle Purina, along with Coconino Community College and Northern Arizona University.
The efforts led to some long-term plans for helping people. Kohany says she is grateful for Jobs 2010, which has taught her to clarify a vision for her ideal job. Presenters have also increased her knowledge and life skills. Community members like financial adviser Dharmesh Vora, employment specialist George Pryer and Coconino County’s Amy Grenier, led some of the seminars. Topics cover the range of the first job search, starting your own business, and career networking.
It’s information Knut MacCormack is hungry to hear. For about 20 years, he owned Sage Electric in Flagstaff. Some bad luck and the economy forced him to close his doors. Through Jobs 2010, MacCormack is learning all he can about getting a job.
“I know about writing bids and customer service,” said MacCormack, “but I didn’t know anything about writing cover letters or what they [employers] are looking for in a résumé.” He was surprised to learn from a seminar presenter that potential employers spend just eight to 40 seconds looking at a resume before accepting or rejecting it. MacCormack realized he needed to change his résumé presentation to become a stronger candidate. He attends the weekly Jobs Club meetings Tuesday afternoons at 1:00 p.m. where people share information about their job hunts and do exercises like mock interviews. Participants describe their job interview experiences and offer congratulations when someone gets hired.
MacCormack describes job seeking as an entire culture about which he knew little. “I doubt I would ever get hired without this,” he said about Jobs 2010. “It’s invaluable.” FBN
For more information, please go to http://flagworks.org.