Searching for a job is hard. Searching for a job during a global pandemic can bring a mind-boggling number of challenges. The Employment Services team at AIFC has come up with several innovative ways this fall to support our community members who are searching for jobs.
Employment Counselor Rachel McCaffrey said participants in the Employment Services programs have overcome obstacles like getting access to technology since the library computer labs have been closed. The team launched a virtual program called the Step by Step Career Builder, which was a way for participants to do job training on their own schedule to support their career goals. Some of the topics they’ve covered are learning how to use programs like Google Docs and Zoom and filling out online job applications. But one of the biggest obstacles is that many of our families are also supporting their children who are doing distance learning.
“They’re having to be a principal, a teacher and a secretary. All the stuff that makes a school run, they’re doing at home while also balancing work,” McCaffrey said.
In response to these challenges, the AIFC Employment Services staff teamed up with other members of the East Side Employment Exchange collaborative, including Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota, to host a Virtual Job Fair on Oct. 28 that highlighted work from home opportunities. The employers who attended the Virtual Job Fair included Xcel Energy, Stitch Fix and Rose International. Over 100 people signed up for the event and attendees were able to ask questions of the attending employers. After the event, follow-up emails were sent to everyone that included employer information.
During the event, attendees were able to ask questions related to job searches, resume building and even virtual interviews. As a follow up, AIFC is hosting a Mock Interview Day on November 17. This will provide an opportunity for people to practice interview skills and receive positive feedback from working professionals in the Saint Paul community.
AIFC is an active participant in the East Side Employment Exchange, a group of community-based organizations working together to create more equitable and more numerous employment opportunities for the East Side of St. Paul. We do this through building relationships; with employers, with East Siders, and among ourselves as service providers.
We encourage anyone who has ideas or would like to see more opportunities like this in the future, please contact us. Stay tuned for future events and tips and tricks with resume work, job search, and interviewing. If you have any questions about the Virtual Career Fair or the upcoming Mock Interview Day please contact Rachel McCaffrey at Rachel_McCaffrey@aifc.net