October 23, 2012

Matching the unemployed with available jobs

Job seekers prepare for career expo in December

Charles Oliver

— Murray County resident Anita Davis says she has been out of work for a year now. She was looking for an edge to help land a job on Monday at the trade center.

“I’ve gone to a couple of workshops and talked to people about how to improve my resume,” she said.

Davis was one of dozens of people taking part in the first day of the Job Readiness Kick Off Talent Attraction. The event continues today and Wednesday at the trade center from 1 to 8 p.m.

“There are jobs available in the Greater Dalton area. What we are doing is trying to help people sharpen their resumes, sharpen their interview skills and help match the unemployed with the jobs that are available,” said Cindy Morley, a special projects manager with the Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL).

The event is a joint effort between GDOL, the Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce, the Dalton-Whitfield Joint Development Authority, the city of Dalton, Whitfield County government, the Chatsworth-Murray County Chamber of Commerce and members of the Murray County and Whitfield County faith community.

“The Department of Labor has never done anything like this before. Thirty days ago, we met with business leaders from the Dalton area. They said, ‘We need help. We have jobs to fill, but we are having trouble finding people with the skills we need,’” Morley said. “This even came out of those talks. We are using it as a pilot project and will take it across Georgia.”

Those attending the event can take part in workshops on using social media such as Facebook and LinkedIn in their job search. They can have their resumes reviewed by human resources professionals who suggest changes to improve them.

“For some people, this might seem pretty basic. But if you are in your 40s or 50s and haven’t been in the job market in 20 years, your interview skills and your resume-writing skills might need some help,” said Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce President Brian Anderson.

In addition, job seekers can learn about some of the resources available to sustain them during their job hunt. For instance, Cynthia R. Harrison, from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, was on hand to talk about the state’s HomeSafe program.

“HomeSafe Georgia is a temporary mortgage assistance program. We can assist homeowners who are unemployed or underemployed through no fault of their own. They were laid off. Their company closed. Maybe they had a small business or were self-employed and saw a reduction in their income,” Harrison said.

She said those who are no more than six months behind in their payments can apply.

“If they are no more than six months behind, we will make them current. Or if they are not behind, we will make their mortgage payments for up to 18 months. We ask that they pay 5 percent of their mortgage payments,” she said. “But veterans and military service personnel can request a waiver of that 5 percent. There’s no cost to apply.”

To find out more about the HomeSafe Georgia program, visit the event today or Wednesday or go online to www.homesafegeorgia.com.

Dalton resident Karen Johnson said she hoped to use the advice she got at the event to help prepare for the big career expo at the trade center on Dec. 5.

“I want to get everything perfect for that,” she said.

Anderson said the Dec. 5 expo will give job seekers a chance to meet with human resources officials from local companies that have jobs they are trying to fill.

“If you go through this and you try to get yourself ready, then you get preferential treatment on the 5th. There will be people who show up on the 5th who chose not to do this. They’ll still get to go to that event, but if there’s a long line, the people who prepared themselves will get to go first,” Anderson said.