Job seekers will get career help

May 12, 2009

By Warren Kagarise

A local group wants to make it easier for the unemployed to find work and network with each other.Career Connection Issaquah, based out of St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church, seeks to serve as a supplement to other aid agencies. Members said they hope to work alongside people from other churches and resources, such as WorkSource Washington, to help people get back on their feet. They plan to launch the program June 5.

Organizers said questions about employment resources have increased amid the recession and rising job losses.

“There’s always been some level of interest out there, and it seems fourfold now,” said Elizabeth Maupin, coordinator of the Issaquah Sammamish Interfaith Coalition and a member of the St. Michael group.

Since the group’s inception in March, organizers have reached out to fellow Eastside churches, WorkSource and Bellevue Community College. Organizers will host monthly gatherings at St. Michael to help people in their search for work. Some weeks, the program will include workshops on résumé writing and sharpening job interview skills. 

Members said despite the faith-based nature of their approach, Career Connection Issaquah was not designed to proselytize.

“We want to do whatever we can to help them out,” group member Bruce Follansbee said.

Follansbee, who was recently let go from his job, said Career Connection Issaquah aims to bring together many resources under one roof.

He emphasized the importance of networking for people in the midst of job searches. Follansbee said he had come across jobs in his search that were not right for him, so he passed along the listings to others for whom the job may be a better fit. 

The St. Michael gatherings will allow job seekers to come together and swap tips. Organizers plan to offer job resources and fliers from BCC as part of the effort to steer people in the right direction as they hunt for jobs.

“Being an information clearinghouse is a value in itself,” group member Ann Lukens said.

Members are also working to bring WorkSource representatives to the St. Michael campus to meet with participants. The nearest WorkSource offices are located in Redmond and Renton. The agency also has a presence at BCC.

As part of the every-other-Friday gathering, Career Connection Issaquah planners will serve lunch. They said they plan to serve soup, or salad as the weather turns warmer. Organizers hope the economy improves to the point that the group will no longer be needed.

“Hopefully, this won’t go on until it gets cold again and we need the soup,” Follansbee said.

Reach Reporter Warren Kagarise at 392-6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment on this story at www.issaquahpress.com.

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