Visit Your Local Workforce Development Agency/Employment Commission
Welcome back everyone! Now that we have your initial resume created, I promise you will revise it at least three to four times a month while actively seeking employment, let’s talk about local resources that will help you with finding work and/or training. As I stated in the first post, I used to be a Career Developer with a local One-Stop Office in Norfolk, Virginia. If you are not familiar with One-Stops or the local Employment Commission, you are missing a little hidden gem. These agencies are State offices that receive Federal dollars to assist residents in job skills training and employment readiness. At the office where I was located, we conducted employment readiness workshops, had a computer lab that people could use to use to apply for jobs and work on resumes, as well as complete school work. Additionally, we had representatives from other social service agencies housed in our building for continuity and ease of service. Most of the centers, also called American Job Centers (AJC), also offer job skills training in labor market sectors that are in high demand. All of these services are of course free of charge; however there will be some eligibility criteria for some of the more intensive, one-on-one services. I’d like to touch on a couple of the services that are most beneficial to MilSpouses and Veterans.
While these are not an exhaustive list of services, and they will vary from location to location, the basics should be the same. The areas I believe are most helpful are: Workshops, Jobs Skills Training, and Employment Services. These three areas are really the bulk of the services that the AJC provides, but some resources not mentioned are hiring events, and the business services. Before moving into each area, I wanted to share with you about a term you may hear and one you should address when visiting these centers. That term is Dislocated Worker, and you will qualify as a dislocated worker if you have moved to a new duty station and not obtained full time employment. A DW is a spouse of a member of the Armed Forces on active duty who has experienced a loss of employment as a direct result of relocation to accommodate a permanent change in duty station of such member. You also qualify as a DW if you were required to go to work due to a deployment.
Workshops: Each center will have a monthly calendar that illustrates the workshops they offer related to job readiness. These could range from resume writing, interview techniques, to on-line applications, and the use of social media in job seeking. All of these workshops are free and usually require you to register with the AJC and sign up in advance. I cannot stress the importance of having a good working resume before beginning your employment search. The facilitators of these workshops are usually all certified workforce specialist who have gone to trainings for these topics. You are able to attend as many workshops as you believe necessary and always feel comfortable to ask questions.
Job Skills Training: This service maybe called an intensive or enhanced service depending on the location, and will require some eligibility requirements. Eligibility is based on household size and income, however in the case of the military spouse, your service member’s base pay is all that is calculated and again, if you are deemed a DW, this information is not counted. If you qualify for job skills training, you will be allowed to receive funding for up to two years in an employment field that is deemed in high demand. The range in training providers and programs offered will vary from location to location and also depends on the labor market demand for each field. By this I mean you are more likely to receive training in a healthcare field than in an arts field like graphic design. Depending on the cap set at the start of each fiscal year, you could enroll and complete the program at almost zero cost, and obtain a certification or even Associates Degree.
Employment Services: Like the job skills training, some of these services will be deemed intensive or enhanced services, it just really depends on the AJC you are working with. This is the service that allows you to work one-on-one with a career coach or employment specialist. Not that I am partial, but I cannot even begin to tell you the wealth of knowledge, resources and support having a career coach offers. When you are assigned a career coach, they will take time to look at your resume and review your work history to determine if you will need any jobs skills training. If so, they will work with you on enrolling for a training program that will assist you in gaining skills that will make you more marketable. In addition to enrolling in job services, your career coach can also work with you on reviewing your resume and cover letter, mock interviews, and of course celebrating the success of being hired. An area that your career coach may be able to also assist is with the partnership of the business services department of the AJC. The business service section works directly with employers and businesses within the community who are looking to fill vacancies or have hiring events. This department usually sends these requests to the career coaches, where they can look for qualified applicants to send directly to the employer.
I was not aware of the vast services that these One-Stop Centers provided until I began working at one, and now that I have learned the many programs and services that are available to MilSpouses, I would be foolish not to share them with you. Here is the link to find your local office, as well as the site for the career one stop.
Until next time,
Empowered Women, Empower Women
Keadra is a USN wife by way of Kalamazoo, Michigan who is currently stationed in Northeast Ohio with her husband who is a recruiter. Her background is in Law Enforcement; however, degrees in Sociology and Public Administration brought her to the world of Workforce Development. Keadra’s hobbies include fostering her budding business Kubed, LLC a training and consulting agency, and raising their daughter.