WEST WARWICK – The staff at the netWORKri branch located on Main Street is working hard to get people back out into the workforce.
Their programs were praised by Congressman Jim Langevin as he toured the facility Wednesday as part of his Classroom to Career program, an initiative he has taken to see what local organizations and companies have to offer in terms of job training.
He discussed various resources such as resume and interview workshops, computer and informational technology training and networking with Becky Mahley, the director of the West Warwick netWORKri location; netWORKri Director Charles Fogarty; netWORKri Coordinator Kathy Aguiar and Laura Hart, communications director for the Rhode Island Department of Labor & Training.
“I’m a big fan of netWORKri and I wanted to get up to speed with job training and programs,” Langevin said. “As far as unemployment in the state goes, we’re plateauing a bit but we need to continue and one thing I hear all the time from employers is how they need to hire but there’s a lack of skillset out there so we need to make sure the people in the state get the training they need to fill these jobs.”
When a person comes into the center, the first step the staff takes is to evaluate the needs of the job seeker by asking them to fill out a questionnaire. They need to see if part of the issue is due to lack of skills or lack of knowing how to use technology more efficiently to assist them in the search.
One key aspect of the resume workshops, Aguiar explained, is for job seekers to recognize what descriptive words will be the most effective for them and how they can most effectively set up their resume.
“We teach them to format and use key words and work with seekers to utilize online resources such as linkedin,” she said.
As a director, Fogarty has noticed that job seekers who have worked all their lives and then got laid off, may know how to present themselves but have to become internet savvy, while recent college graduates may have the technology but don’t present themselves well.
“The things we have to teach them, it’s amazing,” he said. “We could all use some pointers and we want as many people as possible to take advantage of what we have to offer here.”
Fogarty credited Langevin with being such a strong advocate for working to improve skills and opportunities for job seekers.
As Langevin toured the office, he spent some time with job seekers Adam Bernardo and Miranda White, who both agreed coming to the center was a great move.
White just relocated to West Warwick from Iowa and didn’t really know where to begin her search until someone recommended netWORKri.
“I started making contacts and friends and see they have so many resources here,” she said. “Not to mention the staff has been great and so helpful.”
White did have a resume and thought she was all set until she brought it to them and got some great ideas to improve it.
Bernardo, who has been job hunting for seven weeks, said he had no idea what to expect when he walked through the doors but found how helpful people are and all they have to offer.
“I had a resume too, but they showed me things about it that I could improve and to know what technology is out there is great,” he said.