Glenview non-profit helps people find jobs in a tough market
Updated: March 22, 2013 6:25AM
GLENVIEW — Last year, Information Technology specialist, Mark Jerva got some disappointing and concerning news. The company he was working for told him that his 15-year role would be ending. That meant that for the first time in a decade and a half, Jerva was going to have to look for a new job.
“I was told I could look internally and externally,” said Jerva who lives in Glenview with his wife and three children, “But it was concerning because the last time I was looking for work was so long ago, and I’d been so out of practice.”
At the referral of a friend, Jerva contacted Career Resource Center, a non-profit re-employment organization whose professional volunteers help candidates optimize their job searching efforts.
“Right from the get go, I knew I was dealing with people who were concerned and who seemed very capable of helping,” said Jerva, “They offer so many different programs and training sessions, and help with everything from cover letters to resumes to interviewing and electronic media, like Linkedin, all the things it takes to be successful in today’s job market.”
Lake Forest-based Career Resource Center has been in business for 23 years, and has more than 120 volunteers from all different industries, who are both currently working and retired, and who donate their time doing everything from helping with back office work to acting as advisors.
Jan Cline Leahy has been the Executive Director for 19 years, and is the organization’s only full-time paid employee. Leahy said all the volunteers are “high quality, experienced people.
“They’re bringing a longstanding amount of experience, either from what they’re doing or what they’ve done in the past,” said Leahy, “It’s a guidance and motivation role they’re playing, but they’re also teaching candidates strategies and how to market themselves.”
Upon becoming a member of Career Resource Center, which is a one-time $145 fee, candidates are matched up with an advisor with whom they can have private, confidential sessions to learn about things like networking, internet job searching, resume writing, interview preparation and computer software.
Members also have access to the center’s database of 14 million U.S. businesses, as well as a computer lab, workstations with phones and laptops, and office services, such as phones, printers, fax machines and copy machines.
Additionally, the center hosts two presentations per week at their site, all having to do with job searching. Non-members may attend these events for $10.
“The advisors are amazing,” said Jerva, “They are all executives who are volunteering their time, and they’re ready to help you create a plan from ‘I don’t know what I’m going to do,’ to getting your resume together, getting on job search engines to networking and all the way to deciding which offer to take.”
Hugh Mazza is a retired Vice-president of Human Resources and Administration for Kraft, and an advisor for Career Resource Center.
“There are significant implications for people who have lost employment, financial, psychological and family implications, and all of those things have community wide implications, as well,” said Mazza, “In the current environment, where you have such depth in the unemployment market, this warrants the investment of my time and energy.”
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, the Illinois unemployment rate was 8.7 percent in December of 2012.
Career Resource Center has worked with more than 11,500 job searching candidates, and estimates their success rate between 74 and 88 percent, meaning the candidates found jobs.
In less than four months, Jerva had three job offers, and ended up accepting a position in global technology for Bank of America.
“It’s a great team,” Jerva said of Career Resource Center, “They have so much experience and if anything ever happens, I feel very confident that I would be able to represent myself well, thanks to them.”