In August, Los Angeles County unemployment numbers climbed from 12.3 to 12.5 percent a month earlier. Statewide unemployment numbers edged up slightly from July to August 12.0 to 12.1 percent.
So how does one find a job in this market? Laura Biery, Administrative Analyst for the City of Santa Clarita’s Economic Development Division and interim supervisor for the WorkSource Center has seen a trend.
“We’re finding more and more the way people are getting jobs in this economy is through networking, rather than simply applying online,” said Biery.
She says the days of walking in to meet an employer, shaking hands and leaving a resume personally are disappearing. The answer is meeting people who know people.
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“If you want more of that personal touch the networking and the ability to ‘Oh, well you know my cousin’s husband has a company and they’re actually having openings they’re having a really hard time filling, maybe you should talk to them’ and that simple connection can land someone a job opportunity that they never would have seen posted online on any of those websites,” Biery said.
The Santa Clarita WorkSource Center operates under a federal grant from the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). That federal grant comes to them on an annual basis. The grant funds are awarded in July and have to be spent by June of the following year.
Attached to the grant funding are performance measures. The Santa Clarita WorkSource Center is rated on things such as the number of individuals placed in jobs, the retention rates in jobs six months or longer, and the average earnings.
“We have either met or exceeded those expectations for the last several years,” Biery said.
To reach those goals The Santa Clarita WorkSource Center will help individuals polish up their resumes, practice interviewing and even help them find clothing for an interview.
They even provide an opportunity for that all-important networking through seminars like “The Job Hunters Club” or the “Interviewing Skills” class.
Biery says the “Interviewing Skills” class is particularly important.
“We’re finding a lot of individuals right now, they can get in the door, so their resume looks wonderful and they get that first interview but something has occurred in their past,” said Biery.
That occurrence could be a layoff or how they left their last job or there’s a large gap in employment.
“The Interviewing Skills class gives you the opportunity to find out how do you address that difficult question, whether it was why did you leave your last job, maybe they didn’t leave their last job on the best of terms, or why have you been unemployed for over year. And there could be various reasons for that. And so it’s learning how to answer that question in a positive way, refocus the interviewer on your skill set and the things you can bring to the table,” Biery said.
The Santa Clarita WorkSource Center’s Second Chance Workshop even covers how to address past problems with the law.
“It’s how to deal with if you have something in your background. Whether it’s small, it could be a small misdemeanor or even it could even be a larger infraction and how do you deal with that in an interview situation to show that you’ve moved on from that, that you’re ready to be employed again and it’s not going to be a problem for you in the future,” said Biery.
The Job Hunter’s Club meets this Wednesday from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m.
The Interviewing Skills workshop takes place Thursday 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.
Sign up by calling 661-799-WORK(9675). Classes fill up quickly so a reservation is required to attend.
All services at the Santa Clarita WorkSource Center are available free of charge.
Their offices are open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the College of the Canyons, University Center, 26455 Rockwell Canyon Rd. #250, Santa Clarita
There is free parking available.
More information on the WorkSource Center can be found by clicking here .