CareerWorks Mission Employment Session
It is the career centers that are usually on the front lines of any recession. This one is no different.

At CareerWorks in Brockton the recession is being felt - and fought. And thanks to its $1.2 million in stimulus awards the career center is getting significant help in its battle to get its clients jobs.

"One of the bonuses of stimulus is that it is providing career centers with the chance to do innovative programming and meet the needs of individuals," says Sheila Sullivan Jardim, executive director of the Brockton Area Workforce Investment Board (WIB). CareerWorks is operated by the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute under a charter with the Brockton Area WIB.

One of the programs CareerWorks was able to create with the stimulus funds is

Mission Employment, a series of workshops, training classes and networking seminars designed to help job seekers find work. "We looked at the stimulus funds and said we need to get people back to work," says Kim McLaughlin, the director of CareerWorks.

The stimulus funding also enabled the center to hire three new employees to staff the workshops and classes and work one on one with clients and provide an additional $464K in individual training vouchers to job seekers looking to be trained or retrained.

According to McLaughlin, the range of job seekers in this recession are much wider than in years past, with skilled workers as well as those with little work experience both showing up at the career center. At a Mission Employment resume writing workshop, a job seeker who had been laid off after 40 years with one company confessed that he had never even written a resume.

"In this recession, we are seeing a lot of skilled people who are being laid off," says McLaughlin. "The psychological impact over the last year and a half has been huge. I was walking into the center one day and I saw one of our career

CareerWorks Specialists
specialists with a box of tissues. I asked her, do you have a cold? She said no, these are for the clients. It's very challenging at times but I think we're doing a great job," she adds.

So does Kathy Dalton, who found herself unemployed after nearly 22 years in the workforce. She attended Mission Employment, where she re-did her resume, changed her job seeking approach, and learned how to network. Dalton recently got a job as branch manager at a leasing firm.

"We are always looking at ways to promote customer service," says McLaughlin. "It's never boring but we've been able to develop innovative programs. We appreciate the stimulus funding because we couldn't have done all this without it."