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placeholder Fremont parishes join jobs network to help unemployed

Parishes, schools team with MedShare to deliver supplies

Economic downturn has impact on diocesan programs

Prison ministry restored; Diocesan director named

Bishops issue formal statement of appreciation for women religious

Cardinal defends apostolic visitation

Cathedral organ installation continues

Venerating a new saint

New structure for Anglican groups wanting to become Catholic

CCHD — funding for change: Parish leader cites OCO results with funding help from CCHD

OBITUARIES
• Father Alan McCoy, OFM
• Brother Raphael-Philip Thez, FSC

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placeholder November 9, 2009   •   VOL. 47, NO. 19   •   Oakland, CA
Fremont parishes join jobs network
to help unemployed

As many Bay Area workers and families continue to struggle through the current economic crisis, a new employment network developed for area faith communities is aiming to connect unemployed workers with potential employers with positions open in their field.

That’s welcome news to Bay Area residents who have been hit hard by the recession or lost their jobs. It also offers a glimmer of hope to those on the economic bubble, such as the 4,700 employees of Toyota’s New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. (NUMMI) plant who will be laid off when the plant closes for good in March.

“The job transition infrastructure in our country is broken,” said Al Hulvey, a deacon at the Menlo Park Presbyterian Church and developer of the Career Actions Ministries (CAM) network. “Many of my friends and colleagues have experienced long job transition periods. For a typical professional, it can take six to 18 months. Not only does this negatively impact the job seeker, it also hurts their families and our country’s economy.”

Networking is the most effective means of securing new work, but not necessarily the most efficient. “I wanted to create a way to make networking easier and less cumbersome so more people would be inspired to help job seekers,” Hulvey said.

Presently there are 560 job-seekers registered with the CAM network, 69 of which are service workers. There are also 379 people linked in as helpers. Fifteen churches of various denominations are involved in the network, including St. Isidore Parish, Danville, which has long had its own network called SING (Sts. Isidore Networking Group); St. Joseph Parish and Holy Spirit Parish, Fremont; and St. Raymond Parish, Dublin.

The idea of the CAM network is simple: Job-seekers can register for free, post their resume, and browse the available jobs and leads offered by members of their own congregation as well as those originating through other member churches. They can also receive new job leads and listings via e-mail. The individual faith communities host regular meetings for job-seekers where experts in the employment field offer advice on topics like resume writing, interview skills, and placement services.

The online network categorizes available jobs by industry type and provides contact information for each. It also lists job-seeking individuals by skills or position being sought and allows other network members access to their posted resumes.

Don Gillis founded the Jobs Opportunity Information Network (JOIN) at St. Joseph Parish in May, just a month after Hulvey launched CAM. He believes even the availability of the wider network can be a morale boost for unemployed members.

“These people are looking for a job, and every two to three days they get a bunch of job leads coming through their e-mail, and that has to be pretty encouraging,” Gillis told The Voice. “We send the leads to everybody, even leads that are not in their field, because we want them to be aware that there are jobs out there. Even if they don’t qualify for a particular job, they also might know of somebody who does.”

Fifteen of the 48 then-registered members of JOIN attended a recent Wednesday meeting at St. Joseph.

“We have trouble getting people to the meetings,” Gillis said. “A lot of people feel ashamed of being unemployed, and that’s too bad, because they shouldn’t in this economy. But if they are tied into the network, they are getting the job leads.”

Over at Holy Spirit Parish, Deacon Bill Drobick facilitates a similar jobs group.

“My description of what’s going on is the same thing that happens at church after a service,” he said. “People talk about having trees that need cutting, or having a son that needs work. We’re trying an electronic version of that.”

He explained that although employment resources seem plentiful on networking sites such as monster.com and careerbuilder.com, many available positions are not widely advertised or are filled within the industry network itself. Having a forum that facilitates the dissemination of such employment opportunities can be a vital resource for many who are looking for work.

Holy Spirit Parish recently hosted a meeting titled “Dark Night of the Resume,” which addressed the spiritual struggles of unemployment — how to avoid slipping into disillusionment and depression by maintaining faith in God despite trying times. Among the speakers was Father Jim Sullivan, parochial vicar at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Fremont, who worked in job placement before beginning formation for the priesthood.

Gillis and Drobick hope to build the network throughout the local deanery and invite Catholics from other parishes to join either as job-seekers or helpers. The network is designed to assist in all types of employment, from managerial and executive positions to technical and service jobs.

As the NUMMI closing draws near and produces its ripple effect on other regional plants and suppliers, the CAM network may prove to be a lifeline for many.

“We think we will see an increase of job seekers when NUMMI closes,” Hulvey predicted. While CAM is not promoted within the general public, “We rely on communities of faith to make their folks aware of the benefits of joining the network.”
“We’ll do whatever it is we have to do to reach out to those in need,” Gillis said.

Persons interested in learning of job opportunities or in helping others find work can learn more by visiting www.careeractions.org or www.saintjosephmsj.org, or by contacting Don Gillis at donwgillis@comcast.net or (510) 490-1978.

 
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