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Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Community > Business

‘Boot camp' for job-seekers debuts locally this month

Nov 17, 2016

By Dan Hust - staff writer

Contributed photo
Christopher Elliott, a graduate of Jobs Waiting's Westchester County “boot camp,” talks with a potential employer, Susan Hynson of Memorial Sloan Kettering, during his graduation ceremony, which doubled as a job fair. (He's now employed by ENT and Allergy Associates.) The Sullivan County version begins November 28.
MONTICELLO — Jodi Kay Pino had been out of work for more than a year.
The 47-year-old had been a successful office-worker for over two decades, leaving the industry to raise four kids.
But her return to the working world collapsed when her company relocated out of the area, costing her a customer service position.
She spent months trying to figure out a path, then heard about Jobs Waiting.
“The program was brilliant,” Pino says. “It helped me think about what I had to offer in a new way.

That's the goal, says Amy Allen, the vice president of the Westchester County Association, which manages the federally-funded Ready to Work program that is led by Westchester County.
“This is a good example of government money spent right,” she remarks, referring to the $9.8 million the government awarded to the Westchester-Putnam Workforce Development Board to unfurl Jobs Waiting across a seven-county region, targeting the rapidly growing healthcare industry. (The involved counties are also partners in the effort.)
Over 200 people have gone through the program in the past year, with the majority now employed. Orange County just graduated a class of 33, Ulster County's version is in progress, and Sullivan County's first class starts November 28.
The latter session has room for 25-30 people who have been unemployed for more than 26 weeks (when benefits run out).
The services in these classes - one-on-one career counseling, professional skills assessments, career readiness workshops, financial planning, social media training, professional mentoring, business communication development, and opportunities to network with healthcare employers - don't cost a thing to participants.
But take note: there's a reason this is referred to as a “boot camp.”
“They have to commit to coming four days a week for six weeks,” says Allen.
While some travel expenses can be reimbursed, applicants must ensure they make it to every class, and on time.
“It's really demonstrating you're committed to putting the time in ... and that you're going to be actively involved in your job search,” Allen adds.
Many of the graduates don't have to search long - as the program's title implies, jobs are waiting. In fact, employers hold a mini-job fair at the graduation ceremony.
The Sullivan County Center for Workforce Development has already contacted area healthcare organizations for that purpose.
“I think there's a real strong possibility of jobs at the end [of the program],” affirms Laura Quigley, the Center's executive director.
The positions are often in customer service and other non-clinical roles, though there are opportunities for further training towards becoming a registered nurse, clinician assistant, ultrasound technologist, MRI technician, certified medical biller or coding clerk.
Crystal Run Healthcare hired three recent graduates, who started at $12.50-$13 an hour (more, if they have prior experience).
“It is refreshing to see how eager these folks are to get back into the workforce,” notes Tara Kammarada, Crystal Run's human resources director. “They want to work!”
That includes Pino, who works in Crystal Run Healthcare's communications and customer service departments.
“Jobs Waiting helped me to be relevant,” she explains of a process that included rebuilding her resumé, creating a LinkedIn profile and learning how to “pitch” herself. “It had been so many years, and to start something new again felt impossible. I feel like I dusted the cobwebs off of my skills, and working again is great.”
Employers can tap into these funds, too. Allen says there's money for “trying out” a graduate for up to six weeks, and for training an existing employee in new skills that will allow them to progress in the company.
“The program is very comprehensive,” affirms Kammarada.
Says Quigley, “It's a terrific opportunity for us to be able to help more residents get more training.”
Applications are now being taken for the Jobs Waiting sessions starting November 28 at BOCES' St. John Street Education Center in Monticello. To find out more, contact the Sullivan County Center for Workforce Development at 845-807-0618 or visit jobs­

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