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ResCare an employment matchmaker

By Ryan Cornell

Finding a job isn't what it used to be.

Employers today rely heavily on social media to fill positions. Resumes have gone through a bit of a facelift. And people can use the Web to apply for jobs from anywhere in the world.

That's why ResCare Workforce Services, a nationwide company that offers counseling, workshops and funding to hire those who are unemployed, can help.

The service provider teaches people valuable skills in areas they might be deficient in, how to market themselves and how to master the electronic job search.

ResCare has Shenandoah Valley offices in Winchester, Harrisonburg and Staunton, and started providing services from the Shenandoah Valley Workforce Investment Board on July 1.

Each office has career coaches, a workshop facilitator, a youth career coach and a business services consultant, who finds the needs of local employers and compares those needs with the people involved in ResCare's programs.

ResCare workshop facilitator Samantha Greenfield describes it as playing matchmaker.

"When somebody comes in the door [of the Virginia Employment Commission] and has a question and needs to file for unemployment, here's the stop, you don't need to go anywhere else for reemployment services," she said.

ResCare can provide services for youth, ages 16 to 21 years old, who meet a certain criteria, including income eligibility and a barrier keeping them from finishing school such as being involved with the court system, homeless, a school dropout or a parent.

"In today's job market, it seems that most people aren't aware of how things have changed so dramatically," Greenfield said.

One example of these changes is in the traditional resume. She said an applicant's skills and accomplishments are better listed at the top of the page now, where an employer can read it quickly and see what they can be offered, rather than a standard work history resume.

"I kind of see the job market as a roller coaster ride," she said. "And in order to get on a roller coaster, you have to have a ticket. Well, to even enter the job market these days, you have to have a good resume. You walk in the door and we're here to help you with the best techniques in today's job market."

Social media also has become important in getting hired; 80 percent of jobs are filled through networking and aren't even advertised, she said. One of the workshops that ResCare offers is an educational session on how to use Facebook and LinkedIn to reach employers.

Another workshop taught at ResCare is on interviewing skills.

"An interview is more than just setting up an appointment," Greenfield said. "You have to be prepared to sell yourself."

When people enroll in the program, they're granted access to ResCare Academy, which offers 2,000 online seminars on lessons from basic computer and language skills to program management.

The programs -- all free -- that ResCare teaches are created through the Workforce Investment Board, which is based out of Harrisonburg and represents 16 different localities.

The board provides funding, through a $5 million grant administered through the Department of Labor's Workforce Investment Act for On the Job Training. This program partly reimburses employers in the manufacturing and health care sectors for the expense of training new employees

Board president Sharon Johnson said she's thrilled to have ResCare as their newest service provider.

"They bring a wealth of experience from across the nation and best practices and successful models that can be delivered throughout our region," she said.

ResCare partners with local businesses such as trucking companies, a security company and Lord Fairfax Community College to find jobs. Greenfield said the provider is going to introduce a Fresh Start program that works alongside the diversion and detention centers and probation office.

Information orientations for interested participants, which will take place every Tuesday and Thursday in September, will start at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. ResCare is located in the Virginia Employment Commission at 100 Premier Place, Winchester.

Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rcornell@nvdaily.com

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