JFCS joins initiative to meet jobseekers where they are at – on their career path and geographically

JFCS Career Services is excited to announce its participation in a new nationwide network designed to provide jobseekers with all the assistance, resources, and tools they need to find work, regardless of where they are geographically. 

The Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies (NJHSA), of which JFCS is a member agency, has launched Project EM: Empowering and Employing our Community in partnership with the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA).

The goal of Project EM is to ensure that no matter where someone is on their career path or where they are located, they can get the support they require to get a job–or a better job–free of charge.

“The Omicron variant is just the latest obstacle in a two-year trauma that has been enormously disruptive for the nation’s labor force,” said Sarah C. Welch, Vice President of Workforce Development Services at NJHSA, and the coordinator of Project EM. “We created Project EM to help people get the coaching, training, skill building, and support to find good jobs, jobs that pay a living wage and allow them to provide for themselves and their families.”

The ups and downs of the pandemic have thrown a curve ball into the jobs market. Many workers remain on the sideline, find themselves severely underemployed, work multiple jobs, or lack access to benefits. Others, who have upskilled during the pandemic, need help breaking into new fields.

Through Project EM, job seekers can access interactive workshops, technical skills training, financial literacy sessions, résumé writing assistance, and personalized career coaching, as well as job listings. While administered by Jewish organizations, it is open to anyone and everyone.

While there are many job search services that cater to larger cities, smaller communities of jobseekers and rural areas are often getting overlooked – Project EM was created to bridge that gap. Furthermore, if someone was denied access to quality career services and training programs or were not able to easily access supports through government programs, Project EM is able to assist those who fell through the cracks.

NJHSA member agencies, including JFCS, are well equipped to provide holistic services in conjunction with career services, including mental health support, financial planning, food security assistance, critical needs support, etc.

JFCS Employment Counselor Anna Ferdelman, who is coordinating the project in the Twin Cities, said the 19 member agencies will work together to provide quality referrals. For example, if a prospective client has certain job search needs (i.e. formerly incarcerated, mature worker, former military, etc.) they would be matched with a Career Coach at one of the member agencies who has solid experience in that client group. Or if a client decides to move to a different state while already utilizing the program, they could be referred to a Career Coach representing that state/agency location.

“We are focused on aligning our services in order to better leverage and support Jewish vocational programs that serve people of all backgrounds across the U.S. who are unemployed or underemployed,” Anna said.  

JFCS Career Services Director Sheilah Howard said Project EM helps ensure services are available to communities where JFCS-connected Career Services may not be available. For example, some NJHSA member agencies do not have a Career Services department, or may not have adequate staff.

“It allows us to connect to a network of employment counseling professionals who have areas of expertise that we may not have in-house,” she said. “And we can share the expertise we have developed in areas such as working with older adults, IT career pathways, and holistic approaches to job search efforts.”

Project EM’s resources are available at https://www.jewishtogether.org/project-em.

JFCS Career Services’ certified professionals provide complete career assistance, including résumé development, social media strategies, interviewing skills, networking opportunities and more. Our programs empower people to explore and identify their visions of career success, including access to or support for career training. Click here for more information.

The Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies (NJHSA) is an international membership association of more than 150 non-profit human service agencies in the United States, Canada and Israel. Its members provide a full range of human services for the Jewish community and beyond, including healthcare, career, employment and mental health services, as well as programs for youth, families and seniors, Holocaust survivors, immigrants and refugees, a persons with disabilities and caregivers.