vocation progress industriesIt’s that time of year again!

The weather turns colder, the leaves begin changing colors, and “Help Wanted” signs are posted in every retailer’s window.

In many cases, seasonal positions are a great option for individuals seeking part-time employment. What might you want to review before coming to the decision to apply for such a position? How might you improve your chances of successfully obtaining such a position? Remember these simple tips in order to make your job search more successful.

To determine whether an open position might be a good fit for you, start by thinking about what skills someone might utilize in such a position. Consider how the business or employer might frame those into a position posting online. Then begin asking yourself questions relating back to the requirements of the position, for example:

  1. Am I someone who enjoys working with other people and interacting with customers?
  2. Do I have a flexible schedule and am willing to work evenings and weekends?
  3. Am I someone who thrives in a fast-paced environment?

By understanding yourself and your intent in your job search, you can ensure higher levels of success as you progress through the job seeking process. It is important that you first assess the position or industry as a fit for you as a prospective job seeker. There are number of online assessments that can guide you through this process as well. Assess your preferences and attitudes to find a position that fits your needs.

Equally important to understanding yourself, it is critical to ensure that you envision the hiring manager’s perspective when applying for these positions. By doing this, you can oftentimes predict possible interview questions in advance. If a “Help Wanted” advertisement requests someone who works well independently, the interviewer might say something like:

                “Tell me about a time when you were able to succeed with little guidance or direction.”

This is what is known as a “situational” or “behavioral” interview question. The interviewer is expecting an example demonstrating your ability to process through a difficult task. Here is one tip to prepare yourself to answer such a question; just remember the STAR method:

  1. Situation – What took place that led to the problem at hand?
  2. TaskWhat were you assigned to do or what was your role in the problem?
  3. ActionWhat did you do to fix the problem?
  4. ResultHow was this situation resolved?

In preparing for your next interview, try to come up with a few specific examples for situational interview questions that exemplify a few of your “transferable skills” which are skills you take with you from one position to another (sometimes in an entirely different industry). Some of these skills might include:

  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Time Management
  • Computer Literacy
  • Critical Thinking
  • And many others

Finally, as you review these tips before you start the job seeking process, remember that we have only touched on the surface of some of these topics. You can take your job search to the next level by expanding on the advice given above.

For more information about job seeking skills or how best to prepare for what comes after the interview, stay posted to this blog and follow us on social media, where there will be more helpful hints to come.

Thanks for reading and see you next time!

Blog Written by: Mitch Jacobsen is the Director of Vocational Services at Catalyst Life Services, and he has worked with individuals with barriers to their employment and educational goals. He oversees a number of vocational programs and services designed to improve employment outcomes. Mitch is passionate about the vocational department at Catalyst Life Services, which helped put over 500 people to work in calendar year 2017.

Congratulations to Catalyst Life Services’ Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) team for their work toward earning high marks on their 4th Quarter Report on program performance measures.

This dynamic program serves nearly 200 Richland County youth, ages 14-24, with barriers to their employment and educational goals, with an emphasis on out-of-school youth with multiple barriers, some of those barriers might include youth who are:

  • Basic skills deficient
  • An English language learner
  • Offenders or subject to the juvenile or adult justice system
  • Homeless or a runaway
  • In foster care or who have aged out of foster care
  • Are pregnant or parenting
  • Have a diagnosed disability
  • Youth who require additional assistance to complete an education program or obtain and maintain long-term employment

In serving these youth participants, staff members on this program emphasize a number of program elements individualized to the participant and designed to remove or minimize these barriers to the youth participant’s goals and increase employment and educational placement outcomes.

In the WIOA program, measuring success comes in the form of five specific outcome measures, of which the Catalyst team “exceeded” or “significantly exceeded” four of these items.

One such measure of which the Catalyst team was particularly proud was that 79.4% (77/97) of eligible participants achieved a measurable skills gain, which is accomplished when an individual achieves one of the following:

  • Improvement of at least one educational functioning level
  • Passing 5 credit hours or more on the most recent progress report
  • Graduating from a secondary or post-secondary education program
  • Passage of an exam to attain a credential such as CDL/STNA

For this particular measure, the statewide rate was 28.8%.

These performance measures are reported at the state level quarterly and dispensed to the areas locally where the program receives governance and oversight from a local Workforce Development Board comprised of representatives from government entities, non-profit organizations, and private for profit businesses.

If you know anyone interested in this program contact Stephanie Jakubick at 419-774-2250 or at jakubick@catalystlifeservices.org

Leadership Unlimited Visits Catalyst Life Services

This year’s Leadership Unlimited class visited Catalyst Life Services with the topic of Wellness!  It was an impactful experience and Catalyst was able to share the variety of ways they offer support on an individual’s journey to Wellness.

Harry Donahue, CEO & President welcomed these leaders to Catalyst Life Services.

Mitch Jacobsen, Director of Vocational Services, provided the class with a tour of Progress Industries’ industrial workshop which employs individuals with disabilities and serves the manufacturing community of Richland County with cost-effective production solutions. Mitch discussed the importance of assisting individuals with barriers to employment and how our vocational department put over 500 people to work last year.

Laura Montgomery, VP of Human Resources and Housing Services, was able to speak about the Housing First Philosophy.  Housing First is an approach that offers permanent, affordable housing for individuals and families experiencing homelessness, and then provides the supportive services and connections to the community-based supports people need to keep their housing and avoid returning to homelessness. For more information on Housing First: Click Here

 

Erin Schaefer, Director of Operations, and Elaine Surber, Associate Director and Director of New Beginnings Drug and Alcohol Services, were able to provide a demonstration on the 8 dimensions of wellness and how implementing the Eight Dimensions of Wellness part of daily life can improve mental and physical health for people with mental and/or substance use disorders. For more information on the eight dimensions of wellness: Click Here

No matter where you are in life, there’s always room for improvement. At Catalyst Life Services, we serve people at every stage of life. We work toward the total health of ALL the people in our region, in ALL parts of their lives: body, mind and spirit. We are an agent of change guiding the people we serve to lead more fulfilling lives.

Below is our success stories of an individual who has gone through all of Catalyst’s programs and his experience back to wellness.