Soon after taking office in 2007 I saw that an economic downturn was upon us and that, besides helping people with emergency assistance, the Trustee’s office was going to need to focus on getting people back to work. With that in mind I put a strong emphasis on building our Employment Department and implemented several programs to achieve that goal.
One of my highest priorities continues to be helping people find jobs. We consider our clients to be partners in their employment search with our office and with the employers to which we refer them. We created a “Trustee’s Top Ten” list to help our client-partners better navigate the employment process here at the Wayne Township Trustee’s Office.
The first point on our “top ten” list is for clients to “Attend all requested meetings” at our office. That includes Wednesday employment training and orientation classes. Director of Operations, Dominique Dickey is currently overseeing the Employment Department and he regularly runs our employment training meetings. When Dominique and I speak at these classes, we encourage our clients in their employment search, as well as challenge them to find employment. Oftentimes unemployed clients have become discouraged in their job search and they lose the confidence to believe they can find jobs. Sometimes, the encouragement and training they receive at our office gives them that little extra push they need to carry on.
The second point on the top ten list is that clients should “Dress for success at each meeting” in our office “as if interviewing for a job.” Asking clients to dress for success when coming to our office gets them used to dressing in proper work attire again and is good for their self-esteem. And our Township Clothing Emporium is always open during the weekly training sessions so that clients can get help finding appropriate outfits for interviews and job searching.
The third item on the list is that clients should review our “Wall of Opportunity” every time they visit our office. The “Wall of Opportunity” is a large board that faces you immediately when you enter our lobby. That was started by our late Employment Director, LeRoy Page, and we have added his name above the Wall to honor his memory.
The Wall contains information about numerous current job openings. We are proud to call it the ‘Wall of Opportunity” because it provides new opportunities for clients to find employment. Over sixty job openings were posted on the wall during March; those are for our clients or for anyone else looking for a new job. If that’s you, feel free to stop in and pick up any of our notices. Dominique has also put up a Fort Wayne map with many of the jobs on it so that you can visualize where they are.
The next three items on the top ten list involve internal office procedures including the requirement that clients accept all job referrals we give them, that they apply for those jobs on the referrals and then return the signed referrals to us. Point seven is a reminder to be on time and dressed for success at all job interviews. Most employers are looking for just one or a few good workers. If you want the job, we instruct our clients, you must be the one to impress the employer.
The final three points on our list are for clients after they have attained employment. Item eight asks clients to advise our office when they get a job so that we can celebrate with them. Item nine reminds clients who have been hired to be on time and be a success at their new place of employment. The final point asks clients who have gotten jobs to contact us and let us know if there are more job openings at their workplace that we might offer to other clients.
The economy and the job market have made a steady improvement since the 2008 recession, which has meant that jobs are easier to find now and hopefully better paying so that workers can afford to take care of themselves and their families. I believe that our efforts here at the township combined with the improved economy have enabled many of our township’s citizens to get back to work and so move from assistance to independence.
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