The recession is over, but unemployment is not and nowhere was that more apparent than at Thursday's kickoff event for Career Transition Partnership, a New Jersey partnership of churches, private employers, and career counselors and experts. I spoke to people like Larry E. Sutter who was laid off in August 2008 and has been unable to find a job in his field, which is sourcing, procurement and the development of consumer goods. He spends a lot of time doing the right things, networking and hoping for work, but it's not happening. Meanwhile, he's dipping into his savings.
My job at the event was to be a moderator, helping the 300 people in attendance ask themselves how they wanted to kick up CTP's efforts to a new level. The event was exciting, but the despair beneath it is palpable.
I think employers could do the world a service if they would hook up with a couple of these groups and give those groups a chance to see if their members could fill job openings. Here's why. The people that come to these groups tend to be very motivated. That's why they are there. Most of them are willing to work for less money, especially the older ones. They know that they'll be under-employed, but the way they see it, they'll be glad for the job, glad for the money and be ready to lend their experience in a new way. If the employers show these people any sort of appreciation, they'll get a loyal employee in return. Most of these people have been so demoralized, and yet are fighting on. A kind word delivered with respect, a steady and reasonable pay check, and benefits, will yield tremendous loyalty and appreciation, especially if they can see a way to move up and put their skills to use.
Recruiters tell me it takes 40 or so days to fill most jobs -- OK, why not let these people have the job opening first for 10 days and see what happens? There'd be no charge for that.
By the way, kudos to Virtua Voorhees hospital, which hosts this group. The group meets twice monthly on Wednesdays, starting at 6:30 p.m. and offers free workshops on topics such as resume writing, interviewing skills, social media.