EKCEP Job Clubs featured at White House forum
by Ralph B. Davis
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program’s innovative Job Clubs of Eastern Kentucky service is successfully providing the expert career-advising support, job leads, and networking insight that unemployed and underemployed Eastern Kentucky residents need to quickly get a job or better job.
Those efforts earned the attention of the U.S. Department of Labor and the opportunity for EKCEP to participate in an exclusive White House forum in Washington, D.C. to update labor and administration officials on the organization’s success in blending Job Clubs with its Workforce Investment Act (WIA) services for job seekers.
Featured during the “White House Forum on Job Clubs and Career Ministries” on behalf of EKCEP were Executive Director Jeff Whitehead and Traci Nolen, Training and Program Development Coordinator.
The event, held in the Indian Treaty Room at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building of the White House in late September, gave EKCEP and other top Job Clubs practitioners from across the nation the chance to share insights on their success in helping job seekers and others through the Job Clubs concept.
“Job Clubs of Eastern Kentucky is a cornerstone initiative of EKCEP’s efforts to build a community-supported network of people helping people get back to work or start a career,” Whitehead said. “We are very excited about the successful partnerships we are seeing throughout our region, and being invited to the White House and hearing of the many successful and varied Job Clubs in communities throughout our nation was inspiring.
“We left Washington, D.C. feeling truly confident about our efforts and challenged to do more.”
Audience members included about 100 Job Clubs administrators, state and local nonprofit leaders, and local workforce agency leadership from across the nation.
EKCEP participated in the “Workforce Partnerships: Local Workforce Agencies and Job Clubs” panel—one of three such panels that day—with workforce and Job Clubs officials from Maryland, California, and Florida.
“I am honored to be a part of a growing movement of National Job Club Facilitators and Workforce Leaders who are committed in getting America back to work by building and growing job clubs in our local communities,” said Nolen. “It was great honor to spend the day at the White House with leaders from across the country forging new partnerships and sharing insights as we work together to help our unemployed families get back on their feet.”
Job Clubs of Eastern Kentucky is the centerpiece of EKCEP’s new and reorganized service model, which sets its sights on highlighting the services of career advisors in the agency’s 23-county service area in such a way as to create innovative new avenues to access the workforce system and help people better navigate hurdles necessary to get a job, a better job, or launch a targeted career.
Job Clubs of Eastern Kentucky applies a regional approach that features regular support group meetings for unemployed and underemployed citizens in 15 locations throughout EKCEP’s service area.
Sponsored by EKCEP, the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training (OET), and Community Action Agency partners in EKCEP’s regional JobSight workforce network, Job Clubs features small groups of job seekers who meet weekly with local workforce experts to improve their job searches.
The Job Club group members provide support for each other while networking, sharing job leads, and learning techniques for improving their job searches from workforce experts, local businesspeople, and other invited guests.
The combination of support, networking, and job-search education has proven time and again to make Job Club members much more successful at getting a job than job seekers who search alone.
For more information on EKCEP visit www.ekcep.org or www.facebook.com/ekcep. More information on Job Clubs of Eastern Kentucky can be found on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/jobclubseky.
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