What's Happening?

What's Happening?

Partnership connects unemployed with businesses looking to hire

Working with pre-K students was Doris Jordan's dream job. "I just loved helping them learn. When they give you that smile because they have figured something out, there's nothing else like it," she said. 

But she was among the 230 paraprofessionals laid off in September by the Schenectady City Schools. "I was depressed. I had turned 62 and couldn't believe I was out of a job," Jordan said. 

Harron James of the Schenectady Job Training Agency, believed in her, and he had the combined strength of the One Schenectady Employment Partnership to assist Jordan.Uploaded Image: /vs-uploads/covid-19-rebuilding-familes-fund/workforce.jpeg  James and Jordan stand outside the offices at 816 Union St. where they met for sessions. 

Born out of Schenectady County's COVID-19 Recovery Coalition, six agencies collaborated to best serve those seeking jobs, and employers who needed workers.

"So many were hit so hard economically by the pandemic," said Michael Saccocio, executive director of the City Mission, which offered up space and resources at its Schenectady Works headquarters. "We’re serving as a bridge connecting people who are looking for work with businesses that are in need of employees. It’s a win-win for everybody."

In addition to SJTA, other collaborating agencies are Schenectady ARC, Schenectady Community Action Program, SUNY Schenectady and the Employer Resource Network. 

Through the spring, summer and fall, the group honed strategies to get employees back to work, For Jordan, that meant updates to her resume and several job coaching sessions. She applied at the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, was offered a job in November, and will start work in January as a Tax Information Aide.

Her advice to anyone out of work is to "give them a try because they they work with a lot of employers and they know what you need," Jordan said. 

The partnership offers a multitude of business services including recruitment and retention services, funding for Human Resources consultation and technical support as well as on the job training opportunities to help them get and keep the employees they need. "It's about ensuring that businesses have a skilled workforce to meet the economic demands." said Jennifer Bargy, who directs workforce development for the SJTA. " Our vision is to re-skill and assist each and every person and business economically affected by COVID."

Because some programmatic requirements were lifted due to the pandemic, the SJTA has had the time to look holistically at each individual’s needs. “We have more time to work more deeply. It’s much more person-centered now,” said Stephanie Grafton, pictured during a November session to fine-tune a client's resume. Uploaded Image: /vs-uploads/covid-19-rebuilding-familes-fund/graftonSJTA.jpeg

Bargy noted the work doesn't end when someone gets a job. "Moving from one entry-level job to another entry-level job is not our goal. We are really looking for long-term career success for our customers which means growth in their field and self-sustainable wages," Bargy said. 

« Back to News