Since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic in March, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 7.9 percent of our country remains without employment. So far, only one-third of the individuals furloughed in the spring have returned to their previous jobs. While the hard truth is that many positions are likely not coming back, other industries are seeing growth as a result of the pandemic, such as transportation, healthcare and IT. Making a career change is never easy, but as the market changes, this is the reality many Americans may face when re-entering the workforce.
The Kentucky Career Center – Lincoln Trail (KCC-LT) is doing all we can to help job seekers suffering from recent job displacement find their way back to work – whether on the same career path or a new one.
When Lincoln Trail resident Tammy Hayes lost her position after her company of 18 years had to shut its doors, she turned to the KCC-LT.
“The career center was the first place I went when I lost my job,” Hayes said. “I worked closely with Elizabeth, who always seemed to have me in mind. She was constantly reaching out to let me know if something opened up that might interest me. It was a big help to have someone on my side while I faced unemployment.”
KCC-LT has the connections necessary to help unemployed workers like Hayes get back on their feet. Although physical locations are currently closed to in-person services as a COVID-19 precaution, career center coaches remain ready and eager to help Lincoln Trail residents update resumes, secure job training and conduct detailed career searches via virtual appointments. Residents are assigned a dedicated coach to talk through career goals and locate current openings.
Ultimately, Hayes was hired this June at PDCI Automotive, working on the production line. Hayes says she is thrilled to be back in the workforce.
Other free online services include access to the unemployment insurance claims system for filing or requesting of benefits, resume writing and conducting virtual mock-interviews. KCC-LT also encourages residents to take advantage of the Kentucky Career Edge website (kycareeredge.com), a free career services platform for all Kentuckians, offering a full curriculum in various life skills, along with an array of professional development topics and tools. A few of the many interactive modules include time management, networking, effective communication, creating an electronic portfolio, a resume builder and an interview simulation trainer.
Additionally, KCC-LT recommends that job seekers continue to visit trusted career search engines such as Focus Career KY, Indeed or Monster.com, which offer various filters and search options designed to help users quickly locate jobs within the local area that relate to their skillset.
While many job searching resources have moved online during COVID-19, in-person job fairs are still happening with precautions in place. Those interested in this more traditional way of finding employment can visit the KCC-LT website (ltcareercenter.org) or Facebook page (Facebook.com/ltcareercenter) to find out more about upcoming job fairs. KCC-LT also uses its Facebook page to provide information on the region’s most up-to-date job listings. This resource proved beneficial to Marion County Resident, Brittany Mattingly.
“I noticed KCC-LT posted a position on Facebook about an opening at Inter-County Energy, so I immediately sent my resume to the Lebanon/Marion County Career Center,” Mattingly said. “They forwarded my resume to Inter-County, where I was given an interview and was lucky enough to get the job.”
Like Hayes, Mattingly notes a positive experience with the career center.
“Before I received this position, I worked with KCC-LT to get my resume exactly where it needed to be. The career center was very helpful and answered all my questions. Marion County is very lucky to have them in our area to help find jobs for everyone.”
The KCC-LT team, through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), provides applicants who meet certain criteria with a range of career training and work experience options. Once accepted into the program, participants can receive a grant to attend courses in their desired field, build their skillset and obtain reliable employment. WIOA funding has already helped multiple Lincoln Trail residents secure new positions.
While this year has been a challenge for many, KCC-LT staff hopes individuals throughout the region will take advantage of available resources to expand their skill set, grow professionally and ultimately secure new employment. Those interested in working with the career center can get started by visiting our website at ltcareercenter.org.
Phillip Abell is a WIOA Career Manager for the Kentucky Career Center – Lincoln Trail, which is overseen by the Lincoln Trail Workforce Development Board. He can be reached at email@example.com.