Workforce readiness programs that prepare job-seekers to be the best candidates are a key focus of both Charlotte Works and Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC). Joining forces to create opportunities for job-seekers to strengthen employability skills is a win-win for both job-seekers and employers.
“My thoughts on the way to work each day center around this question: ‘Through the volunteer program, what value can I bring to Charlotte Works, job-seekers and employers of the area?’” says Julie Paul, volunteer manager. “I thrive on creating partnerships and connecting resources to our organization, with a focus on the job-seeker being a beneficiary and ultimately, the employer and economy.” CPCC’s Human Resource Development (HRD) department Program Manager, Cynthia Ham, and Paul collaborated to create a winning strategy to strengthen employability skills for Charlotte Works’ clients, with a bonus of extending part-time employment to qualified candidates from Charlotte Works’ talent pool to teach several classes.
They created Interview Boot Camp, a two-day intensive class that teaches the fundamentals of interviewing on day one and provides practical application of these newly learned skills day two.
Charlotte Works’ clients and human resources professionals Veressa Hendrix and Suzette Brown teach these classes at Charlotte Works.
“We’re excited that CPCC’s HRD department brings such wonderful creativity and innovation in their program design to meet community needs,” says Paul.
The first four, two-day Interview Boot Camps held in April were “sold out” within three days of being listed on the class calendar, enabling 80 clients to enhance their interview skills. Due to this success, Charlotte Works has scheduled three more boot camps on May 7 – 8, 14—15 and 20 – 21.
Piggybacking on the partnership’s success
Offering clients a variety of strategic options to get back to work is important. With the success of the boot camps, Paul added more programs and continued to strengthen Charlotte Works’ partnership with CPCC.
One of these new classes was titled “How to Contract and Volunteer Your Way to Employment.” It offered job-seekers more ways to use contracting and volunteering as opportunities to get noticed, build ongoing resume experience and create potential opportunities for permanent placement.
Skills-based volunteering gives job-seekers the ability to keep the gaps on their resumes small, develop relationships with the staff and gain new references or recommendations. The organization gains knowledgeable, skilled talent to add value or reduce costs to programs and services. “I believe strongly that skills-based volunteering can land you a job. Why? Because it happened to me!” Paul says. While a job-seeker herself in 2010, she focused her volunteer efforts to use her fundraising and learning and development skills in areas she was passionate about and skilled in, which led to more interviews.
“I knew I’d found the right fit when Steve Partridge [Charlotte Works’ president & CEO] offered me employment as program manager for ProNet in 2011,” she continues. “I was excited to be a guest speaker at this class and encourage job-seekers to volunteer in their passions and strengths at Charlotte Works.”
The first “How to Contract and Volunteer Your Way to Employment” classes were held April 26 and May 3.