When Samiha Sufyan began participating in the Livonia PATH program in February, 2016, she was facing several significant employability barriers. Samiha met with Career Development Facilitator (CDF), Dawn Mathis, and shared that she did not have a GED or diploma, a driver’s license, child care or work experience outside of the home. Additionally, her limited English language proficiency was a barrier, as was her housing situation. Samiha and her 3-month-old baby were living with relatives, and she was in the process of bringing her husband and other children to the United States. Despite all of these barriers, Samiha was determined to achieve success.
When St. Vincent de Paul, a charitable organization with several thrift stores in Southeastern Michigan, needed assistance with staffing their stores, they reached out to EDSI at the Michigan Works! Livonia Service Center. The employer was experiencing issues with high turnover and wanted referrals of interested individuals with great work ethics. It was also important that candidates be committed to the cause of helping others in times of need, because their organization takes pride in this value.
I was recently speaking to a group of 8th graders when one of them asked an interesting question. "As a CEO," she said, "What do you think is more important: vision or resilience?" I told her that my immediate response was vision, for two reasons: First, vision is the sole responsibility of the CEO. The CEO is the only one who should be writing the initial draft of the vision. It's that person's job to say where the organization is headed over the next three years. Second, resilience, when you're pursuing the wrong goals, is a terrible thing. I've lost a lot of money pursuing the wrong business goals for too long. There is a lot of benefit to failing fast.
I explained further that it is important to determine if you're pursuing the right goals for your life. If you're not having success, maybe you should just quit.
Kareem Hawkins began participating in the Livonia WIOA Youth Program on June 10, 2016, following his graduation from Redford Union High School. When Kareem met with the Youth Program’s Career Coach, he expressed a desire to pursue higher education and become employed.
Within the first few months of his participation with EDSI, Kareem prepared for employment through engaging in workshops as well as meeting one-on-one with staff. He worked to develop his resume and create cover letters as he searched for employment. In addition, he completed mock interviews with EDSI staff to learn how to best present himself to an employer. This preparation assisted Kareem as he attended job fairs hosted by EDSI at the Michigan Works! Livonia Service Center.
Ashley Wynn began participating with EDSI’s Livonia PATH Program on September 28, 2016. She was already enrolled in school at Schoolcraft College, working toward a degree in Nursing. She entered into her Application Eligibility Period (AEP) motivated to find employment that would lead her to self-sufficiency.
During her AEP, Ashley recognized her need to update and rework her resume. She met with EDSI’s Instructor, Pete Anthony, to complete this task and prepare herself for future interviews. During the meeting they discussed several options that might help her gain experience in the healthcare field. When Ashley learned of a job opening at a local healthcare company, Homestead Home Health Care, she jumped at the opportunity.
On June 28, 2016, Monica Wingate began the Application Eligibility Period (AEP) for the PATH program at the Michigan Works! Livonia PATH Office. She came to Michigan from Texas, leaving her home and steady job to care for her ailing mother. After her mother’s passing, Monica was forced to move from the apartment they had shared because she was unable to have the lease put in her name due to her lack of employment. Her life circumstances had changed again and Monica found herself without a home.
Finding a job doesn’t always come easy, especially in today’s competitive job market. It can also be difficult to decide on a career. In fact, most of us never stop asking ourselves that age-old question: “What do I want to be when I grow up?”
With so many resources available, job searches aren’t just about the classifieds anymore. Jobseekers must use every resource possible to widen their job search: networking, social media, recruiters, job listings and employer contacts from workforce agencies.
State and local workforce agencies offer full-service, one-stop assistance with skill assessments, training, job counseling and job placement. Many non-profits also provide services. These organizations often offer assistance for those who need to overcome specific barriers to employment. Ultimately, what kind of job you decide is best for you depends a lot on who you are, and your satisfaction on the job. It pays to map out career goals and aspirations, and figure out exactly what steps are needed to get the job you want, because you really can make it happen!
Organizations are constantly challenged with increased market pressures and declining budgets. This is even more prevalent as we approach a slowing economy. In order to optimize staff efforts, tough decisions are required, potentially resulting in layoffs, elimination of benefits, reduced customer support, or closing facilities.
The result of this “more with less” philosophy ultimately causes increased stress on existing staffs. It tends to place more burden on the highest performers who remain from downsizing. Eventually, these performers become disenchanted with the organization, yielding reduced customer satisfaction and inevitable revenue reduction. Another downside of this decision is when valued employees give up on the company or organization and seek employment elsewhere.
Is your company struggling financially?
If so, it may be time to create a turnaround plan. Turnaround plans assist companies in identifying the cause of underperformance; reverse it and return to profitability. There are a few essential elements to any financial turnaround business plan. Following are some basic actions and best practices to consider.
- Don’t waste time. If the company is performing poorly, don’t procrastinate. I’ve seen far too many financial disasters occur simply because managers and advisors are passive. If things are degrading, act now. Time can be your friend, or it can be your enemy. For turnarounds, unfortunately, it is too often the latter.
Raqia Alrobayi began participating with the EDSI Livonia Michigan Works! PATH office on October 7, 2015 when she entered into the AEP (Application Eligibility Period) process. After successfully completing her AEP, Raqia became a PATH participant.
Upon her enrollment into the program, Raqia's job focus was to return to the travel industry. Her education included an Associate's of Travel and Tourism degree from Centennial College in Toronto, and she expressed an interest in becoming a travel agent. While meeting with her Career Development Facilitator (CDF), Raqia shared concerns regarding her gap in employment. She recognized her need to remain relevant in the workforce and also to build on her computer and administrative skills. On January 5, 2016, she began participating at EDSI's onsite internship program.
On January 20, 2015, Riona Hunter began participating with EDSI when enrolled in the Partnership, Accountability, Training, Hope (PATH) program. During her orientation appointment, Riona met with a Career Development Facilitator (CDF) and shared her career goals. She explained that she was interested in attending Medical Assistant training in order to build upon her current certification as a Nursing Assistant. Her CDF assisted her with researching training options, and Riona decided to pursue her education at Dorsey Schools.
Although motivated to attend training, Riona shared with her CDF that reliable transportation could be a barrier to her attendance. She did not have a valid driver’s license as she was working to pay tickets and fees. Fortunately, Riona’s school of choice was accessible via public transportation, and EDSI provided her with SMART and DDOT bus passes. On February 12, 2015, Riona attended orientation at Dorsey Schools and began training in the Medical Administration and Billing Program. Throughout the training course, Riona shared her progress with her CDF as she gained knowledge in both administrative and clinical skill areas. She continued to receive assistance from EDSI staff with ongoing transportation and documentation needs, and she remained motivated to accomplish her goals.
Micahh Scott began participating with EDSI on July 7, 2015, when she entered into the AEP (Application Eligibility Period). She entered the program with a year of administrative experience and a desire to return to work in the clerical field. Within her first weeks of participation with EDSI, Micahh took steps to enhance her job readiness. She met with staff to create a professional resume that highlighted her administrative abilities, and practiced her communication skills and business etiquette through mock interviewing. Micahh also applied for and received PATH supportive service funds to purchase professional clothing.
As she diligently searched for employment, Micahh recognized her need to remain relevant in the workforce by having current experience. She decided to participate at EDSI’s on-site internship in order to increase her skills. At the internship, Micahh improved her typing, increased her knowledge of Microsoft Office and acquired new skills while working in the scanning and business services departments. As she continued to seek ways to grow her skill level, she accepted the opportunity to job shadow EDSI’s administrative assistant. She learned how to manage front office duties, including tasks that made her resume more relevant and marketable.
Sometimes, when I’ve tried 10 times to re-word a sentence in a resume, or I sit down with a customer who has a less-than-ideal work history, the opening lines from the famous Beatles’ song come to mind:
Help, not just anybody
Help, you know I need someone
In the course of writing a resume or speaking with customers, we might encounter any number of problems that can cause great difficulty. In order to provide the best and most effective resume advice to customers, as well as produce great results, we should seek help from all available resources. These can come in the form of people, books, websites…anything that gives us advice and helps us to break the resume stalemate.
I store my resources in my “tool box,” and I can fix most resume problems by reaching in and pulling out something I can use.
“Rapport is the ability to enter someone else’s world, to make him feel that you understand him, that you have a strong common bond.” - Tony Robbins, Author and Motivational Speaker
Building relationships with another person is all about connecting with him or her and creating a sense of trust and understanding. According to some research, we have only 7 seconds to make a good first impression! It is absolutely essential for us to build solid connections with our clients, and this relationship building starts the first time we meet.
When I began my career as a Job Developer with EDSI, I would conduct an initial interview with clients. I would ask questions about clients’ living situation, their children and partners, the kinds of jobs they had in the past and what they wanted to accomplish. The interview gave me some important facts, but I realized something was missing. I wanted to go a bit deeper, I needed to better understand their passions, hopes and dreams when it came to finding, obtaining and keeping a job.
Nedal Alshaibany began participating with EDSI at the Michigan Works! Livonia PATH Office on May 5, 2015 when he entered into his AEP (Application Eligibility Period). During his initial meeting with a Career Development Facilitator (CDF), Nedal discussed his past employment experience. He expressed a desire to learn about computers or become trained as a truck driver. EDSI’s onsite internship program presented a perfect opportunity for Nedal to develop computer skills while meeting his PATH participation requirements in a work experience activity. After completing the AEP, Nedal enrolled in PATH and began in the internship’s Scanning Center. He quickly learned the processes and demonstrated his knowledge by training other interns.
Virtually every mature company has gone through rough financial times. If you’re around long enough, your company will go through rough times again. When this happens, you may get moved to your bank’s “Special Assets Group.” Many banks have different names for this group, but in generic terms, they are all “workout” groups. The purpose of a workout group is to reduce the bank’s risk. Typically, this is accomplished by getting rid of accounts that have become too risky. In some cases, the workout group will work with the company to remediate it, then return the company to the original lender. Unfortunately, this scenario occurs infrequently. Most workout scenarios require the company to find an alternative lender, then pay off the current bank.
In my short tenure with EDSI as an EARN Job Developer, I have had the privilege of observing and teaching Job Club. Most of the clients who participate are 50 years old+, have been employed steadily in a company or industry for a long time, and generally have no clue about the requirements of a job search in this century.
Five common concerns usually come to light during our weeks together in Job Club. The exciting news for us is that with empathy, active listening and open sharing, most of these concerns can be identified and relieved before “graduation” day. You can be the change agent that turns their fear, frustration and negative attitude into one of hope for a brighter and better new day.
Written by Karin Knutson - Director of Sales with EDSI Consulting
**Original Article Written in December, 2014
Here it comes! The New Year, 2015! And with the New Year, comes the new you. It is a time to start fresh and make something happen. What do you want to “make happen” this year? How do you want to get ahead in your personal life and/or professional career? Let’s begin 2015 with a bang and get “fired up” to take care of business!
Ok, so how do you reach your goals and better yourself, personally and professionally? And how do you get excited and motivated to carry your goals through to the finish line? I don’t know about you, but New Year’s resolutions never quite work for me. Setting simple resolutions (lose weight, start eating healthy, get that promotion at work) can feel too large and too general, and these feelings make me unlikely to achieve them. And, inevitably, “resolutions” are often broken by the end of January, if they survive that long. These broad, broken promises to yourself can make you feel like a failure before the year even gets started! I prefer to start the year off on a more positive note, feeling motivated to take on the New Year with great energy.
Start this New Year with a different approach. Goal Setting! Big or small. Tough or simple. Goals, by definition, are “the object of a person's ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.” Sounds pretty targeted to me. Putting a big red bullseye on what you want to accomplish, by nature, makes you more focused and motivated to plan your course of action. I’m feeling motivated just writing about it!
To get started choosing and defining your goals, you will need to create a road map, a plan that will clearly lead you to the finish line! These next steps will help you create your own roadmap to success.
1) Determine what you would like to accomplish
Really think about your goals and what you want to achieve throughout the year. These can be both personal and professional. This process is a bit of a “brain dump” – consider all of the things you have been thinking about getting done and have yet to get started. Write every single one of them down, even if they aren’t concrete or task-oriented. We will fine tune them in the next step.
Look at your list and pick the top three goals that are the most important and you are most excited about. These are your bullseye goals! “Bullseye-ing” your top three instead of five or more will make it easier to put maximum attention on the right path. Print them out and post them in your bedroom, bathroom, office - anywhere you need a little reminder. Post them where you can see them every day. Visualizing your goals on paper, on your smart phone or on a white board, brings them to life.
3) Lay down a strategic plan
For each bullseye goal, write down how you are going to accomplish it with sub-goals, usually set in increments of time or task. Write these sub-goals into a bullseye goal plan, and, most importantly, check them off as you go.
Here is an example of one of my goals: Save $5,000 for home improvements by October. My plan is to put away $500 per month, or $250 per paycheck, then have a checklist for each time I put the money away. Another example: Start a new HR project : 1. List who you want on your project team 2. Set meeting date 3. Determine project deliverables. 4. Complete project plan by (set date) 5. Complete project by (set date)
Get in as much depth as you need to establish proper milestones along the way. When you have your plan in front of you, cross off or check off each task when it is complete. Nothing is a better motivator than being able to see your progress/accomplishments checked off and how close you are to the finish line! Get a big red marker and go for it!
4) Reward yourself
This is the best part. Make sure you pat yourself on the back for every task and milestone you complete. It is essential to give yourself some kudos to help you stay motivated and focused on the end result. No matter how small the task you have completed, you have moved closer to your goal. Once you have traveled through your roadmap to your bullseye goal, CELEBRATE!!!
2015 will be here before you know it! I would love to hear about your bullseye goals and the progress you area making throughout the year.
Written by Kevin Watson - Director of Business Development with EDSI Consulting
At 9:04 pm last Wednesday, I received a text message from a high school Junior that inspired, and motivated me unlike any text message I have ever received. Before I get ahead of myself, it might help to give you a little bit of context. For the past three years, I have served as a mentor/advocate for a student at a local Prep School. The student that I mentor is attending school as part of a scholarship that is awarded each year to almost two dozen hardworking students from low-income families. The students crave the challenge of a top-notch, college-preparatory education and would not have the opportunity to attend this school without financial assistance.
Each summer, the students go through a formal interview/selection process and must earn the right to have their scholarship renewed. During the interview panel this past June, I asked my mentee what his academic goals were for 2014. Even though he is an extremely bright and talented student, I was somewhat surprised when he announced that his goal was to get a 3.8 GPA this year (an ambitious goal, especially in light of the fact that during his freshman and sophomore years his GPA typically fell somewhere in the 3.3 – 3.5 range).
During the interview, we asked him the following questions, and received the following responses:
- Have you written your goal down? (not yet)
- Have you shared your goal with anyone? (not yet)
- What has prevented you from reaching your goal(s) in the past? (did not have a great system for taking notes or studying for tests)
- Who is the best person you know at taking notes/studying? (a close friend of his)
During the interview, we gave him a mini “homework assignment.” We encouraged him to write down his goal and to share them with his parents, his brother, his friends and each of his teachers. We asked him to write down his goal on a post-it note and keep it next to his alarm clock so that it was the first thing he sees every morning. We also asked him to reach out to his friend to find out how he can improve his note taking/studying habits. Lastly, we asked him when he was going to accomplish all of these things.
So how did things play out? Listed below is the text message chain from last week.
Mentee: Hey Kevin, Sorry I couldn’t call today. I was on the road for robotics all the way from 4 today until just now. I currently have all A’s right now, and last semester I achieved my 3.9 GPA goal.
Me: That is AWESOME!! I am extremely proud of you! Make sure to write down your goals for the rest of your year, and share it with your family, friends, teachers, me, etc.
Mentee: It is kind of funny. When some of my friends ask me why there are a bunch of sticky notes around my room that say 3.8, I just tell them it’s my goal.
Me: That is great that you have your goals written down in visible places.
Mentee: Yes. It actually helps remind me.
I am not attributing 100% of his success to the fact that he had written and shared his goals, but it certainly did not hurt! Research conducted by noted social psychologist Dr. Robert Cialdini has concluded that if people commit, orally or in writing, to an idea or goal, they are more likely to honor that commitment because of establishing that idea or goal as being congruent with their self-image.
I was personally so inspired that I have written out all of my goals for 2014 and have laminated the list. I now carry the laminated list with me everywhere I go (along with my driver’s license, credit cards, etc.).
I am encouraging each of you to spend the next 15 minutes on this “homework assignment.” By completing this, you may just be amazed at what you accomplish before the end of the calendar year:
- Write down personal and professional goals that you want to accomplish in 2014
- Write down the names of 5 people that you are going to share your goals with
- Write down any potential obstacles that are standing in your way
- Write down the names of people that can help you side step these obstacles
- Share your goals with these 5 people, and set up checkpoints throughout the year to provide them with status updates
Please share your success stories with me as you achieve your goals!
Founded in 1979, EDSI is a national leader in workforce development, customized training and consulting.
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