On the best of days, looking for work can be difficult. During the pandemic and ensuing shutdown, new challenges arose for those seeking employment. The Northwest Indiana Workforce Board's (NWIWB) WorkOne program was ready to pivot and continue providing services and resources to help job-seekers get employed and reach their career goals.
“We’re still getting people employed during this pandemic, and that’s a huge success,” said Robyn Minton-Holmes, Vice President of Workforce Initiatives at Center of Workforce Innovations (CWI).
Job-seekers are still able to turn to WorkOne for their quality services but through new virtual means. Using technology, WorkOne has been able to continue career advising, training, and even virtual workshops.
“Our customers are looking for work and trying to hone their skills. That didn’t stop because of a pandemic, so it was really important to not let our services drop,” Minton-Holmes said. “Historically, so much of our work has been face-to-face, which we still value, but this pandemic allowed us to figure out how we could virtually serve our customers, and it’s been an amazing discovery and we’ve been able to adapt well. People were ready for these virtual resources.”
WorkOne has also seen a rise in their social media platforms, which have now become one of the best ways for job-seekers in Northwest Indiana to find employers who are hiring.
“There are employers who are hiring, there are jobs out there. Not everybody shut down, so there are still people who are applying for these jobs and we’re trying to help these jobs get filled. It was important to continue doing that,” Minton-Holmes said.
Each week, WorkOne is hosting virtual workshops that cover a range of topics from resume writing, interviewing, how to best approach job searching, and even how to deal with the loss of a job and social distancing. All workshops are completely free and open to anyone who chooses to register.
“These are the career and workforce topics that job-seekers ask for. If you’ve applied multiple times to several employers and you’re not getting any hits on your resume, you’re going to wonder what’s going on with your resume. Our facilitators can help you figure out what to do so employers can quickly connect with your resume,” Minton-Holmes said. “Interviewing is completely different right now and that’s the reason our interview workshops are so important. We’re able to talk about what interviewing is going to be like [virtually].”
One of the unique aspects of WorkOne is its connection with local employers. During the pandemic, their ability to connect these employers with the skilled workers they need has remained constant.
“We have a great group of employers that we know are hiring and we’re trying to connect them with job-seekers who meet that employer’s skill needs,” Minton-Holmes said. “That’s one of the pieces that makes WorkOne so great. We know what employers are looking for and can help our job-seekers to become a better candidate for those employers to hire.”
As new concerns and needs arise, such as safety and social distancing, WorkOne has expertly adapted its practices and is helping both job-seekers and employers learn how to best approach the subject.
“Everyone is concerned. The job-seeker is concerned about being safe at work and the employers are concerned about keeping staff safe, so there are lots of conversations between the two about how to stay safe in the workplace. We’ve helped the job-seekers figure out how to ask those questions in interviews,” Minton-Holmes said.
As the state begins to reopen, CWI, NWIWB, and the WorkOne program will continue to evaluate best practices and work toward face-to-face operations again. They’re also working hard to find ways to continue providing one of their best resources for both employers and job-seekers: their job fairs.
“The greatest struggle for us right now is not being able to host the job fairs that were doing really well. We’re trying to figure out how to host those types of events during this pandemic. We’ve been brainstorming how to possibly do these events virtually,” Minton-Holmes said.
No matter what, CWI knows that we will all recover from this pandemic, and the WorkOne team will do all that they can to help make that recovery possible.
“WorkOne is a key part of the economic recovery for Northwest Indiana. It means so much to us to be able to offer these services to Northwest Indiana Hoosiers. We know that the Region will recover and we’re ready and willing to serve those who need our help. Whether it’s employers for hiring or job-seekers who need jobs, we’re here,” Minton-Holmes said.
For more information on the Center of Workforce Innovations, Inc., and how the WorkOne program can help you with your job search, visit their website: https://www.gotoworkonenw.com/.
You can also follow their Facebook page for up-to-date employment and workshop information: https://www.facebook.com/workonenwi/.