Searching for a new job at any stage of your career can be a daunting endeavor. Among the myriad challenges are cold calls, maintaining contact lists, constantly updating your social media profiles and customizing your resume, and recruiting references. It’s enough to give even the most stalwart job hunter a feeling of timidity.
Job seekers often upload a resume on one or two readily known websites and cross their fingers. But there are resources available for Town of Hempstead residents through the town’s Department of Occupational Resources and its HempsteadWorks office. HempsteadWorks provides assistance at all phases of a job search to help residents hunting for their next position.
Among those services are workshops on resume and cover letter writing; interviewing strategies; social media sites such as LinkedIn; professional presence; computer skills; and training and certification programs. The services are available for free to Hempstead and City of Long Beach residents.
“If someone doesn’t have computer skills, we help them,” Mary Drangel, a business services representative for HempsteadWorks, said. “Some don’t have a computer at home, so they can come in and use the computer resource room and work on their resume. We have interviewing skills workshops, a resume workshop, a LinkedIn workshop if you don’t know how to create a LinkedIn account.”
HempsteadWorks, Drangel said, offers services for a wide range of professions, from truck driving to engineering. “They are matched with a career counselor,” she said of job hunters, “and we find out what their needs are and what career path they want to take, and from there we have all of the services that they might need.”
While unemployment rates nationally and locally remain near record lows, there are still plenty of people in need of jobs, or even a new job. HempsteadWorks helps not just the unemployed, but the underemployed as well.
“For the adults, we have training and workshops so they can get a certificate or credential in any field,” Drangel said.
HempsteadWorks is especially skilled at helping young and at-risk job seekers, Drangel said. The office offers programs specifically designed to help young people and those with criminal records. The Youth Services program is currently helping 145 Hempstead youths with job training, as well also transportation and child care. It’s a comprehensive program designed to eliminate any and all potential barriers to getting hired.
“We want them to be self-sufficient,” said Nene Alameda, another business services representative who has worked side by side with Drangel. “Some of the youth we work with have been involved with the justice system. We find companies that are willing to give them a second chance. We try to identify barriers and mitigate them. We want to help them find a sustainable wage to live on Long Island.”
The Youth Services program helps job seekers ages 18 to 24 who dropped out of high school, have a criminal record, are homeless, pregnant, or economically disadvantaged. HempsteadWorks also has a program designed to help those trying to escape from the influence of gangs.
“We have a pro-bono attorney to help them clean up their rap sheet,” Drangel said.
There are also services for those with physical and learning disabilities, as well as English language learners. Job seekers must, of course, have a legal right to work in the United States.
Job searches would be fruitless without jobs. Drangel and Alameda said that HempsteadWorks develops great relationships with businesses to meet their needs, and not just the needs of those looking for jobs. A recent job fair in Freeport, Drangel and Alameda said, attracted 1,500 job seekers and 70 companies.
“I always feel like we’re a bit of a professional matchmaker,” Alameda said. “We work with companies to understand their needs, but we’re also working with participants who have workforce needs. How do we find that perfect fit?”