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Helping Job Seekers Land Work

A joint effort of Michelle Schimel and Port Washington Library

Some seeking employment opportunities are gaining new strategies, thanks to the Job Search Boot Camp. It’s a program co-sponsored by Assemb. Michelle Schimel and the Port Washington Public Library.

Now in its second cycle, this eight-week job-training program is available to area residents who are chronically unemployed or underemployed, and registered for the boot camp. It’s run by Maria Frey, president and founder of Centereach-based Executive Consultants of New York. Her mission: to help individuals acquire the skills they need to successfully obtain employment.

On Thursday, participants had the chance to test their new skills at a speed interviewing session to help fine-tune their job-seeking skills. 

“It’s very motivating,” said Lynn Meir, who is in the midst of a career switch from sales and marketing home furnishings to social work. “It keeps us on track and focused. It’s things you know, but you need to hear it.”

Meir liked that the program was avaialble at her local library.

“These opportunities are just not available elsewhere,” she said, referring to the library’s resources, networking events, research capabilities for school, and job listing.

Schimel hopes to bring the program to the state level, and for good reason.

“The last cycle people were hired,” Schimel noted.

In fact, three of the interviewers at Thursday’s event were graduates of the program’s previous cycle and had landed jobs. Since the first boot camp ended in December, 32 percent attained employment, and 60 percent of the group is actively interviewing. Those now employed are working in either healthcare and information technology, accounting or education, according to Schimel’s office. Those who haven’t found employment attend follow-up classes.

Interviewers also include local business leaders who were there to help job seekers articulate the strengths they want to bring to the workplace.

“I love that community business leaders come out and are willing to interview,” said Library Director Nancy Curtin. “It’s really wonderful.”

The program has been sponsored in the Towns of Brookhaven and Islip. Frey said Brookhaven has already committed to bring the program back.

In addition to in-person networking events, the program also teaches job-seekers how to mine LinkedIn for opportunities.

Just ask program graduate James Iannazzo.

“Maria's outstanding approach and procedures to the networking process assisted me in creating a network of colleagues that went from 20 to 189 in two months,” he said. “In addition to this, I have recently been offered an accounting position as a result of LinkedIn networking.I would recommend Job Search Boot Camp to anyone who is interested in building a solid professional network.”

The Job Search Boot Camp will start a new cycle in May – in time to help recent college graduates find work. Check the library’s May newsletter for registration details. 

Wandell Thomas February 21, 2013 at 11:16 PM
This is great, but why are we just being informed about this after the fact?
Joyce Schneider February 22, 2013 at 01:01 PM
Kudos to Michele Schimmel for leading this initiative. It truly is a great program for the community, job-seekers, and interviewers! It enables the residents to hone their presentation and interviewing skills so they can secure a job that fits their skill sets and personalities, enabling them to have the income to keep their families and local economy vibrant through the additional of more income, tax dollars, and merchant revenue! Thank you Michelle, and Maria and her team at the PW library for executing this outstanding program!
Adina Genn (Editor) February 22, 2013 at 02:29 PM
Hi Wandell, This particular event was for registered participants who have already been in the program for the last 7 weeks. The library says it will hold another one in late May and to watch for its May newsletter to find out how to register. Hope this helps.
Maria Themistocleous-Frey February 26, 2013 at 04:05 PM
Thank you, Joyce for participating and Adina for your time reporting on our program! The event was a tremendous SUCCESS - several students walked away with leads and one had a scheduled meeting yesterday! Thank you also to Michelle Schimel and Denise and Nancy at the Port Washington Public Library for their commitment to the community and helping Long Islanders get back to work!

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