What's Now: Job Seekers Network
New Skills for the New Economy
Job seekers are learning that today's economy requires new skill sets. “The days are pretty much gone where a high school graduate could walk into a company and earn a job making $15 to $20 an hour on an assembly line,” states Paul Verbeten, president of Perfecseal, a Bemis company specializing in medical and pharmaceutical packing products. “Today’s employers are looking for advanced skills that align with the changing economy.”
In spring of 2008, Fox Valley Technical College’s Student Employment Services department launched the Job Seekers Network (JSN) to arm career-changing individuals with marketable tools to help re-enter the workforce. During the first year, JSN meetings were held once a week at FVTC’s Appleton campus, but the down economy and word of mouth caused the fast-growing resource to add sessions. Today, JSN is running four sessions a week, including a recent addition in Oshkosh at FVTC’s Riverside campus.
“Job Seekers Network introduces the career seeker to a different approach to being hired,” notes Chris Czarnik, facilitator/instructor for JSN. “We focus on teaching people to market themselves through emphasizing his or her achievements, networking, and identifying unadvertised job opportunities. This is very different than a traditional job search support group.”
Since its inception, JSN has impacted nearly 250 individuals and built an ever-growing network through social media. “We’re learning of new successes almost weekly by way of participants landing careers or continuing their education,” says Czarnik. “The beauty of JSN is that the networking creates energy among participants, and that dynamic gives people the motivation to control their job search.”
Sarah Dempsey of Oshkosh needed a different approach to a new career after losing her job. After nine months of being out of work, she attended a JSN meeting and discovered a strategic, structured resource to landing a job. “Getting a job today requires a new way of networking,” says Dempsey, who earned a full-time career with an accounting firm in Appleton as a result of attending JSN. “Job Seekers Network gave me confidence to help others spread the word about my skills.”
Student Employment Services at FVTC helps connect students and alumni to job opportunities through Wisconsin TechConnect, an up-to-date, free online pool of job postings by statewide employers.