The unemployment rate in Jefferson County steadily declines, but one population in the community still struggles to find work. They are the long- term unemployed, or folks who have been out of work for six months or more and whose unemployment insurance is nearing expiration or has expired.
To help this group, Jewish Family & Career Services (JFCS) in partnership with the Kentucky Career Center Get Opportunity! (KCCGO!), developed the Job Search Turnaround. This 18-hour workshop pairs traditional technical job search training with non traditional behavior health assistance.
These clients often require more than just skill building strategies. Distinctive psychological challenges like diminished self-confidence, skill erosion and loss of social networks make finding new work more difficult. The workshop teaches stress management techniques and offers networking opportunities.
A recent networking event at JFCS connected job seeking clients with area recruiters. “A lot of these participants have been working careers for 10 years or more,” says Kendall Thirlwell, career and employment specialist at JFCS. “We have people with engineering, marketing and human resource backgrounds. It’s a wide variety of professionals who are great candidates for their fields.”
Job Search Turnaround started as a small-scale demonstration project in 2011, and expanded into a large-scale grant funded program when JFCS began a multi-year partnership with KCCGO! Since the collaboration began in 2013, 60 percent of long-term unemployed participants have secured acceptable employment.
This year, 66 percent of the long-term unemployed secured employment within three months of completing the program. As a result of this success, JFCS was recognized with a 2015 Program Award for Collaborative Agency Programming Excellence from the International Association of Jewish Vocational Services (IAJVS). IAJVS is an association of health and human services agencies in the United States, Canada and Israel, of which JFCS is a member.