GARY │ Local Hoosiers who are unemployed or looking to take the next step in their careers were given free assistance Monday at a job-seekers workshop hosted by the office of U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., at Ivy Tech Community College.
Designed to help attendees to improve their job search and interview skills and their resume writing, workshop events included discussions lead by community leaders and industry professionals on growing job opportunities in industries such as manufacturing and technology. Resources were also available to assist Hoosier veterans with their entry or re-entry into the workforce.
“The top issues I hear as I travel our great state is that many Hoosiers are still searching for employment, and some Indiana business owners are still looking for skilled workers ready to go on day one,” Donnelly said in a statement.
Breakout sessions focused on basic job-search skills, job-search tips for the professional, advanced manufacturing and transitioning veterans to civilian work, a session Larry Rogers, of Hammond, attended because he’s been out of work for three years. Rogers, who served in the Army from 1975 to 1978, said one of his issues is job-seeking, which these days means doing a lot of computer work that could be tough for someone without a computer or the Internet.
“Everything is online,” he said.
Rogers made an appointment at the session to visit a local WorkOne, which partnered in the Donnelly workshop, to take advantage of the agency’s free computer use and computer skills training.
Todd Lecher, WorkOne’s local veteran’s employment representative for the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, said job-seekers need to stay positive throughout their employment hunt. He invoked the military phrase “adapt and overcome” while telling them they’ll never hear from some employers when applying for jobs and even if they reach the interview phase, they still might not get hired.
“There’s going to be a lot in life thrown your way you’re not going to be expecting,” he said. “That’s why we were in the military, for our ability to adapt and overcome.”
Panel members during the veteran’s breakout session included Ray Guiden, director of the Veterans Services Office in Crown Point. Guiden said job-seekers must have patience and perseverance.
“If you don’t have those two things, don’t even bother to start,” he said.
Mandy Chalk, associate director of career services, Ivy Tech Community College Northwest, attended the workshop to bring information back to her students.
“One of the main points I have heard from employers is that students need to sell themselves during the interviews,” she said.
Chandra Gary, regional director of career services at Ivy Tech, helped plan the workshop with Donnelly’s office and said it was good way to partner in helping the community.
“We’re just excited to be a part of this,” she said.
Donnelly’s workshops continue throughout the week in various parts of the state.
“I hope participants find valuable tools to help them succeed in finding employment, and I won’t stop until everyone in Indiana who wants a job has a job,” he said.