Archive for June 2010

When They Require Experience and You Have None

June 30, 2010

By Tara Weiss, Forbes.com, Yahoo! HotJobs

Lack of experience is often the biggest obstacle college graduates must overcome when entering the job market. Prospective employers can sound like a broken record, saying over and over, “You don’t have enough experience”–followed by the devastating “We’ll call you” (especially last year, when only 19.7 percent of graduates had a job lined up after graduating). So how do you get your foot in the door–how do you gain experience if you don’t have any already?

Many new grads already have what recruiters are looking for. They just need to recognize it and package it properly in their resumes and cover letters. To begin with, think of experience you gained before you entered “the real world” that could apply. Consider including all the things you did during college, even those you wouldn’t have considered job experience at the time.

“Off-the-job” training
Bill Warner, director of sales and recruiting at the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, oversees all the hiring of interns and recent graduates for sales and operations positions there. He says one of the best resume/cover letters he’s seen recently came from a woman who described how her position as rush chair at her sorority had given her the leadership and project-management skills she needed to work at AstraZeneca. She told of the unique challenges of dealing with rush rules that were changed that year, as well as how she managed the process, calculated how many new members to bring in, and got all the other parts of the job done as well.

Warner, impressed, offered her a job even though she had never worked in pharmaceutical sales. “They do have experience, but they struggle with the bridge from what they’ve done in college, how to link it to the position they’re interested in,” he says.

Build bridges
To identify that bridge, look at the skills you displayed and tasks you pulled off in your college exploits. One applicant hurt his chances by failing to emphasize being editor in chief of his university’s newspaper, Warner says. That activity involved numerous duties employers consider valuable experience, such as managing a staff, working with outside vendors, and balancing the newspaper and schoolwork.

When you interview with potential employers and the issue of experience comes up, be prepared with an answer that doesn’t dwell on past jobs (or lack thereof).”Don’t stress your work experience as much as your skill set,” says Tarek Pertew, cofounder and director of marketing at the career website MyWorkster.

Educate yourself
When college experiences and your skill set aren’t enough, try brushing up on a job’s specific requirements, Pertew says. If you repeatedly hear that you lack a specific technical skill for the jobs you want, take classes to gain that competency. Add those classes to your resume as you continue your job search. “It shows that you have ambition,” she says.

Volunteering pays
Another way to gain technical competence is by volunteering your professional skills in the service of a nonprofit. The monetary perks might not be there, but the equally important networking perks will be. For instance, if you’re looking for a position in public relations or marketing, volunteer to help an organization in those areas. You’ll expand your circle of networking contacts, gain valuable experience, and learn the trade. Ask the professionals you work with if they know of any opportunities in your field or anyone you should meet, and try to add to your skill set while you’re at it.

Volunteering anywhere improves your resume, but if you can work with a nonprofit that has connections to a company you want to work for, that’s even better. It shows you’ve done your homework about the firm, and it’s a way to network your way to employees already there.

Consider temp work
Also, apply for temp work at staffing agencies that place people in your intended field. That way, you can gain experience and meet professionals to further add to your networking circle, and a temp job can sometimes lead to full-time work.

“Temp agencies are still hiring, because companies are still waiting to see how things will unfold in the third and fourth quarters,” says Joanie Ruge, senior vice president of Adecco Group North America, a human resources services firm. “They may have openings for which they can’t bring someone on full time. Temp workers give companies flexibility as they wait to see supply and demand. As the market turns, they’ll look at the temps first when they’re ready to hire permanently.”

Always be networking
Meanwhile, join your industry’s professional association, and attend its monthly meetings and conferences. Also, join a committee in the association, and take a leadership position, since that way you can meet some of your field’s most active professionals. That’s another good way to network with people who know of job openings. Don’t be intimidated because you’re younger than them all. They’ll be impressed with your eagerness to break in to the field. “It shows you’ve got initiative and leadership abilities,” says Joe Ruffolo, a career coach at 360jobinterview.com.

In short, networking is the most effective way to find a job in this economy, particularly if you don’t have much professional experience. Whether you’re volunteering, temping, or attending a summer barbecue, have a 30-second elevator pitch ready to share with people who ask what you’d like to be doing professionally. That’s a brief explanation of what you’d like your next job to look like and what you’ve done in the past, whether it’s school, internships, or full-time work.

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Jobless claims dip, but hiring is still weak

June 30, 2010

The Tennessean – Associated Press – June 24, 2010

WASHINGTON — Initial claims for jobless benefits fell by the largest number in two months last week, but remain above levels consistent with healthy job growth.

Despite the drop of 19,000, claims are at about the same level they were at the beginning of the year. The stubbornly high level of requests for jobless aid is a sign hiring remains weak even as the economy recovers.

The Labor Department said this morning that new claims dropped to a seasonally adjusted 457,000. That’s slightly below economists’ forecasts of 460,000, according to Thomson Reuters.

First-time requests for unemployment insurance have been stuck at about 450,000 since the beginning of this year. New claims dropped steadily last year after reaching a peak of 651,000 in March 2009. Claims need to fall closer to 425,000 to signal sustained job growth, many economists say.

The four-week average dipped by 1,500 to 462,750, the first drop in six weeks.

The report comes as worries grow about the health of the economic recovery. New home sales dropped in May to their lowest level on records dating from 1963, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. That followed a report earlier in the week that sales of previously-owned homes also fell last month, as tax credits for homebuyers expired April 30.

The total number of people receiving benefits, meanwhile, dropped 45,000 to 4.5 million, the department said. But that doesn’t include about 5.3 million people who received extended benefits paid for by the federal government in the week ended June 5, the latest data available.

During the recession, Congress added up to 73 weeks of extra benefits on top of the 26 weeks typically provided by states.

But those extensions expired earlier this month, leaving about 900,000 people without unemployment insurance, according to the Labor Department. That figure is expected to grow to 1.25 million by the end of this week.

The House approved legislation to restore the 73 extra weeks but the Senate is still debating the bill.

Davidson County unemployment flat in May at 8.9%

June 29, 2010

By Eric Snyder – Nashville Business Journal – June 24, 2010

Davidson County unemployment remained unchanged in May at 8.9 percent, according to data from the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

May unemployment in Davidson County was lower than both the state average of 10.4 percent and the national rate of 9.7 percent. It is just slightly more than the 8.8 percent unemployment seen in May 2009.

According to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, unemployment in May decreased in 86 counties, increased in seven and remained the same in two.

Lincoln County had the state’s lowest county unemployment rate at 6.6 percent, down from 7.1 percent in April. Scott County had the state’s highest rate at 19.8 percent, down from 20.2 percent in April.

At 7.7 percent, Knox County continues to have the state’s lowest major metropolitan unemployment rate.

Unemployment dropped to 15.1 percent in Maury County, down from 15.3; to 9.2 percent in Rutherford, down from 9.5; to 7.6 percent in Williamson County, down from 8.1; to 9.2 percent in Sumner County, down from 9.6; and to 8.5 percent in Wilson County, down from 9.1.

Tennessee jobless rate dips slightly

June 29, 2010

Some employers partly reverse earlier layoffs
By Bonna Johnson – The Tennessean – June18, 2010

Tennessee’s double-digit unemployment rate continues to inch lower — although at a slow pace — but at least more employers say they’re at least thinking about making new hires.

Locally, companies that had sizable layoffs during the recession, including tiremaker Bridgestone and book publisher Thomas Nelson, have started taking tentative steps toward rehiring, although confidence is not deep, or widespread.

“Everybody is being cautious and wanting to make sure they look before they leap,” said Art Smith, managing principle of AG Smith & Associates, a Nashville human resources and pay consulting firm.

“But there’s more activity going on,” Smith said. “You see activity on job boards. There are more job opportunities out there and less layoffs going on.”

Modest job growth has been chipping away at Tennessee’s jobless rate, which stood at 10.4 percent in May, down from 10.5 percent in April, according to the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

Nationally, new data suggest that more companies will add to their payroll at a higher rate this month compared with a year ago.

In Nashville, Bridgestone Americas Inc.’s La Vergne tire plant is taking small steps to regain ground after it bought out 543 workers in the past 18 months as the facility phased out production of passenger-car and light-truck tires.

Those ex-employees will be given preferential rehire rights when the plant fills positions for 32 production operators in early July, said John McLaughlin, manager of special projects for Bridgestone Americas Manufacturing Group.

“We are starting to see a slight uptick in the American marketplace, and we want to be ready for that,” McLaughlin said. “Some of the economic indicators are mixed, and it’s too early to tell where the trend is going.”

Primarily, the company’s tire-making facilities in Brazil are at capacity and some of the overflow is being moved here, McLaughlin said. The La Vergne plant manufactures bus radial tires as well as tires for large trucks.

Temp jobs lead the way

Even with signs of new job growth, the unemployment rate isn’t falling any faster here because there are even more people looking for work, mostly discouraged workers who had dropped out but are once again actively hunting for work, said Bill Fox, an economist at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.

“What you’re seeing is employment growth in temporary employment agencies or worker placement firms, which signals most firms remain nervous about (permanent) hiring,” Fox said.

Last year, the Tennessee unemployment rate in May was 10.7 percent. The national unemployment rate for May this year was 9.7 percent, down from April’s rate of 9.9 percent.

Manufacturing jobs gain

Even though U.S. unemployment levels are expected to remain elevated throughout 2010, manufacturing and service-sector companies plan to increase hiring this month for the eighth straight month, according to a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management. Those two sectors employ more than 90 percent of the nation’s private-sector workers.

In manufacturing, nearly 45 percent of companies said they expected to hire this month as do 51 percent of service companies, the report said.

At the same time, though, the number of people filing new claims for jobless benefits jumped unexpectedly last week after three straight declines nationally.

Initial claims for jobless benefits rose by 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 472,000, the U.S. Labor Department said Thursday.

Rehires less than layoffs

Nashville-based Thomas Nelson, the largest Christian publisher in the nation, has been advertising for 15 positions that would largely be replacements for people who have left, not necessarily broad add-backs after layoffs of some 55 workers during the recession, spokeswoman Lindsey Nobles said.

Nashville-based Louisiana-Pacific also scaled back its work force the past 18 months because of lower demand for building products in the housing market. The company has beefed up a bit these past few months to a current work force in the U.S. and Canada of 3,640, although not in any significant way at its corporate headquarters here.

“We are somewhat more optimistic than we were a year ago, but we will continue to carefully scale employment to what’s needed to meet demand for our products,” spokeswoman Mary Cohn said.

“We’re playing it conservative,” added Chip Manning, spokesman at Central Parking Corp., which also had layoffs during the recession. The Nashville-based company does not plan any hiring now.

“We’re still pretty tight,” Manning said. “Our leading economic indicators tend to be unemployment rates and office occupancies, and those are not showing recovery.”

MSIP participant writes article about NCAC’s Youth Programs for Metro Website

June 28, 2010

Mollie Adcock

NCAC Taps ARRA Funding to Reach Out to Unemployed Youth

With the recent surplus of adult job-seekers (Thanks, Recession) combined with the majority of teenagers’ lack of work experience, could it be that no one feels the need to take on the role of someone’s first boss? And with that recent surplus of adults looking for jobs, no one has to anymore.

When you’re young, finding a summer job is like a rite of passage; it’s a milestone much like the first day of high school, the first kiss, the first car. A teen’s first job is like a Sudoku puzzle: confusing, complicated, and once it’s finished you’re left with a feeling of total accomplishment.  However, how can teens experience this milestone if no one is willing to offer it to them?

Thanks to two stimulus-funded grants from the U.S. Department of Labor, the ARRA WIA Youth and ARRA WIA Youth Supplemental grants, The Nashville Career Advancement Center (NCAC) is able to provide a solution. The grants, which total $2,902,022, were given to help youth reach their goal of employability.

While both stimulus grants set up programs and services to help employ youth, the grants do vary. The ARRA WIA Youth grant sets up multiple programs – mentorships, employment opportunities, etc – aimed to help more disadvantaged youth go out into the workforce while gaining life knowledge. The ARRA WIA Youth Supplemental grant, however, set up one specific program – a summer internship for high school students to get paid experience by working throughout Metro Departments. All of the programs these ARRA grants have set up, however, are doing a great service to the youth of Nashville.

Youth Programs Thrive at NCAC With ARRA Funding

For six years, NCAC has been offering youth (14-24) these programs and services aimed to help them advance into the workforce and gain direction as well as experience by placing youth inside of work environments within the Metro community. Before receiving these grants, NCAC had relied on funding from NCAC’s general fund dollars (city money) as well as from the participating Metro departments to financially run these programs. However, since receiving these ARRA grants, NCAC has not only been able to double the number of youth that are served throughout these programs, but now NCAC and the participating Metro departments don’t have to use their own money to keep these programs up and running. The programs and services offered have expanded, and the number of departments and offices that participate within the programs have grown.

NCAC was given these grants based on the increased teen unemployment rate, as well as the poverty and drop-out rate in the local area. In the last few years, Tennessee’s teen unemployment rate has been hovering close to 30%, with one out of three teens actively looking for a job not being able to find one. NCAC hopes that these programs will lower those statistics. Ellen Zinkiewicz, NCAC’s Community Service Director, explains that the Nashville Career Advancement Center is here to connect youth to services available in the community, to pay for the services that will get them where they need to be, and to create services that a youth may need that may not be otherwise there. With the help of these ARRA grants, NCAC is able to do just that.

For youth, NCAC focuses most on summer employment, since it has always been the ideal time for youth employment since the school-year obligations (sports, homework, etc) aren’t present. By recieving both the ARRA WIA Youth and ARRA  WIA Youth Supplemental grants, NCAC was able to employ 1,138 young people last summer at summer jobs throughout the community, and 50 of those young people went on to permanent jobs with the employers that NCAC set them up with. While the programs vary in experience and placement (some work in an office, while others go off to be camp counselors), all of the programs are designed to link the participants’ interest with their work, to expand on their own career goals, and to connect them with employers that could potentially hire them later on. In doing so, NCAC hopes to assist youth to grow into capable adults.

ARRA Funding Doubles Number of Summer Interns

The program funded by the ARRA WIA Youth Supplemental grant is the same program that has allowed me, a 17-year-old, to have the pleasure of working as an intern in the Metro Finance Department’s Division of Grants Coordination for the month of June – and thus gave me the opportunity to write this article.

While interns in the Metro Summer Internship Program have been going to work for one of the participating Metro departments for six years, last summer the internship was able to double in all aspects – how many departments participated and how many youth were employed (it jumped from 25 to 50) – none of which would have happened without the ARRA WIA Youth Supplemental grant.

This year, myself along with 50 other high school students went through the job-process (applications and interviews) in order to be placed throughout participating departments in Metro – the Police Department, the Library, the Mayor’s Office, for example. The internship lasts for four weeks – the entire month of June – with each intern getting paid $8/hour for working a total of 80 hours. Along with working within Metro, the interns met at Glencliff High School once a week for four hours to go through job training, something that has been a benefit to all interns. While not every intern has worked at the same department, all have learned the valuable lessons of work, and have had the opportunity to get real work experience.

Deborah Crosby, a teacher at Glencliff, has been helping to train the participating interns for three summers now, and has seen the benefit of it firsthand. “Working in situations like these, where you have to be on time and interact with adults, it gives teens a valuable lesson. Not only are they able to get the real world experience that everyone’s always looking for,” she continues, “but they’re able to apply what they’ve learned in school to the real world. Programs like these allow for students to see the relevance, as well as to gain direction and become more employable.”

Ana Antunovic, a 16-year-old who is interning at the Hermitage Fire Department Head Quarters, agrees. In the past year she has applied for multiple jobs, all of which she didn’t get (she blames her lack of experience and the number of job-seekers). Through this internship, Ana says that she has gained experience she wouldn’t have otherwise gotten, and that this internship helped her to find out what she’s interested in for a future career. And with the help of NCAC’s internship, she now has the proper knowledge and skills to go on and start that career. “Before, I didn’t really know what it was like to work. I’m more motivated to go work now because I know what it takes,” Ana explains, “This internship gave me direction – seeing the firefighters do what they do; it made me realize that I want to help people. This whole experience has inspired me.”

That is the goal of all of NCAC’s youth employment programs: to help inspire and motivate teenagers to work by giving them the skill set and the experience to do so. Every adult that I spoke with who has participated in this internship wants the internship not only to inspire change in the youth they work with, but to help mold the future. Crosby states, “I hope that these kids can see the importance of what they’re doing, and that they can be the small part of the bigger puzzle. These departments are valuing [the interns]; they’re challenging them with important tasks. And if the kid does a good job, then not only are they setting a trend for the future of themselves, but also for future teenagers that are going to want to work.”

While some may not see why teens would need jobs so badly, Tennessee’s economic health will benefit from by preparing youth to work. These teens will go on and get jobs, and in doing so they will ensure the companies located in the community (whether they be nationwide, corporate chains or a mom’n’pop shops) that they will have the necessary workers to keep their location within the community. Likewise, putting money in teen’s pockets may seem like a waste to some (All they will do is spend it on McDonalds, on purses, on ice cream!), it is in fact just the opposite.

As Zinkiewicz explained, “Teens will stimulate the economy. While adults go and take the money from their paycheck and put it away into credit card payments, into savings account, teens will most likely spend the money immediately and boost local, community businesses.” So many people need to work – including teens. There are those teenagers – perhaps more than you’d think – who want to help, who want to work, and who need to work. It is to our advantage to have a workforce population of all ages that  have the skill set and that understand what work means and thus feel prepared to work. Having that is a value to employers in a community, not a hindrance.

Troubled Youth Empowered by ARRA Enhanced WIA Youth Programs

NCAC understands this completely, which is why for the past six years they’ve worked directly with teens to help them move forward in the workforce and into their lives. Aside from the ARRA WIA Youth Supplemental funded internships, the broader ARRAWIAYouth grant has allowed for NCAC to expand its other youth programs. The majority of the young people in the basic WIA Youth programs are facing serious barriers (such as pregnancy, drop-out, foster care, etc) and thus they statistically face even more opposition when it comes to finding a job. NCAC works with these young people to help them gain confidence by setting them up with their own mentor. Zinkiewicz explains that these mentors “believe that any young person can succeed and will succeed. We all have high expectations for our youth, and our goal is to work together with them in order to help them advance on in life.”  And, in the end, that will show these young people that they are worthy and capable of doing whatever it is they want to in life.

For teenagers, first jobs are a big deal. There are those that want one so that they can buy shoes and fill up their gas tanks. There are also those who need a job so that they can help support their family and themselves. Regardless of why a teen may get a job, all teens benefit from having one. As a community, not allowing our teenagers to work is not only doing them a disservice – but doing the entire community a disservice.

The federal Government has recognized the need for change amongst teens, and in giving the Nashville Career Advancement Center the ARRA WIA Youth and ARRA WIA Youth Supplemental grants, they are supporting that effort for change. They are allowing for NCAC to take the initiative into directing the future. They believe in the youth and the future of Nashville.

As Ellen Zinkiewicz says, “These kids that we work with – no matter where they’ve come from, what decisions they’ve made – they’re great kids. Hopefully programs like this, having them go out and work [with adults], will remind and show adults that teens are capable [of working] and are, in fact, going somewhere.”

NCAC Taps ARRA Funding to Reach Out to Unemployed Youth

With the recent surplus of adult job-seekers (Thanks, Recession) combined with the majority of teenagers’ lack of work experience, could it be that no one feels the need to take on the role of someone’s first boss? And with that recent surplus of adults looking for jobs, no one has to anymore.

When you’re young, finding a summer job is like a rite of passage; it’s a milestone much like the first day of high school, the first kiss, the first car. A teen’s first job is like a Sudoku puzzle: confusing, complicated, and once it’s finished you’re left with a feeling of total accomplishment.  However, how can teens experience this milestone if no one is willing to offer it to them?

Thanks to two stimulus-funded grants from the U.S. Department of Labor, the ARRA WIA Youth and ARRA WIA Youth Supplemental grants, The Nashville Career Advancement Center (NCAC) is able to provide a solution. The grants, which total $2,902,022, were given to help youth reach their goal of employability.

While both stimulus grants set up programs and services to help employ youth, the grants do vary. The ARRA WIA Youth grant sets up multiple programs – mentorships, employment opportunities, etc – aimed to help more disadvantaged youth go out into the workforce while gaining life knowledge. The ARRA WIA Youth Supplemental grant, however, set up one specific program – a summer internship for high school students to get paid experience by working throughout Metro Departments. All of the programs these ARRA grants have set up, however, are doing a great service to the youth of Nashville.

Youth Programs Thrive at NCAC With ARRA Funding

For six years, NCAC has been offering youth (14-24) these programs and services aimed to help them advance into the workforce and gain direction as well as experience by placing youth inside of work environments within the Metro community. Before receiving these grants, NCAC had relied on funding from NCAC’s general fund dollars (city money) as well as from the participating Metro departments to financially run these programs. However, since receiving these ARRA grants, NCAC has not only been able to double the number of youth that are served throughout these programs, but now NCAC and the participating Metro departments don’t have to use their own money to keep these programs up and running. The programs and services offered have expanded, and the number of departments and offices that participate within the programs have grown.

NCAC was given these grants based on the increased teen unemployment rate, as well as the poverty and drop-out rate in the local area. In the last few years, Tennessee’s teen unemployment rate has been hovering close to 30%, with one out of three teens actively looking for a job not being able to find one. NCAC hopes that these programs will lower those statistics. Ellen Zinkiewicz, NCAC’s Community Service Director, explains that the Nashville Career Advancement Center is here to connect youth to services available in the community, to pay for the services that will get them where they need to be, and to create services that a youth may need that may not be otherwise there. With the help of these ARRA grants, NCAC is able to do just that.

For youth, NCAC focuses most on summer employment, since it has always been the ideal time for youth employment since the school-year obligations (sports, homework, etc) aren’t present. By recieving both the ARRA WIA Youth and ARRA  WIA Youth Supplemental grants, NCAC was able to employ 1,138 young people last summer at summer jobs throughout the community, and 50 of those young people went on to permanent jobs with the employers that NCAC set them up with. While the programs vary in experience and placement (some work in an office, while others go off to be camp counselors), all of the programs are designed to link the participants’ interest with their work, to expand on their own career goals, and to connect them with employers that could potentially hire them later on. In doing so, NCAC hopes to assist youth to grow into capable adults.

ARRA Funding Doubles Number of Summer Interns

The program funded by the ARRA WIA Youth Supplemental grant is the same program that has allowed me, a 17-year-old, to have the pleasure of working as an intern in the Metro Finance Department’s Division of Grants Coordination for the month of June – and thus gave me the opportunity to write this article.

While interns in the Metro Summer Internship Program have been going to work for one of the participating Metro departments for six years, last summer the internship was able to double in all aspects – how many departments participated and how many youth were employed (it jumped from 25 to 50) – none of which would have happened without the ARRA WIA Youth Supplemental grant.

This year, myself along with 50 other high school students went through the job-process (applications and interviews) in order to be placed throughout participating departments in Metro – the Police Department, the Library, the Mayor’s Office, for example. The internship lasts for four weeks – the entire month of June – with each intern getting paid $8/hour for working a total of 80 hours. Along with working within Metro, the interns met at Glencliff High School once a week for four hours to go through job training, something that has been a benefit to all interns. While not every intern has worked at the same department, all have learned the valuable lessons of work, and have had the opportunity to get real work experience.

Deborah Crosby, a teacher at Glencliff, has been helping to train the participating interns for three summers now, and has seen the benefit of it firsthand. “Working in situations like these, where you have to be on time and interact with adults, it gives teens a valuable lesson. Not only are they able to get the real world experience that everyone’s always looking for,” she continues, “but they’re able to apply what they’ve learned in school to the real world. Programs like these allow for students to see the relevance, as well as to gain direction and become more employable.”

Ana Antunovic, a 16-year-old who is interning at the Hermitage Fire Department Head Quarters, agrees. In the past year she has applied for multiple jobs, all of which she didn’t get (she blames her lack of experience and the number of job-seekers). Through this internship, Ana says that she has gained experience she wouldn’t have otherwise gotten, and that this internship helped her to find out what she’s interested in for a future career. And with the help of NCAC’s internship, she now has the proper knowledge and skills to go on and start that career. “Before, I didn’t really know what it was like to work. I’m more motivated to go work now because I know what it takes,” Ana explains, “This internship gave me direction – seeing the firefighters do what they do; it made me realize that I want to help people. This whole experience has inspired me.”

That is the goal of all of NCAC’s youth employment programs: to help inspire and motivate teenagers to work by giving them the skill set and the experience to do so. Every adult that I spoke with who has participated in this internship wants the internship not only to inspire change in the youth they work with, but to help mold the future. Crosby states, “I hope that these kids can see the importance of what they’re doing, and that they can be the small part of the bigger puzzle. These departments are valuing [the interns]; they’re challenging them with important tasks. And if the kid does a good job, then not only are they setting a trend for the future of themselves, but also for future teenagers that are going to want to work.”

While some may not see why teens would need jobs so badly, Tennessee’s economic health will benefit from by preparing youth to work. These teens will go on and get jobs, and in doing so they will ensure the companies located in the community (whether they be nationwide, corporate chains or a mom’n’pop shops) that they will have the necessary workers to keep their location within the community. Likewise, putting money in teen’s pockets may seem like a waste to some (All they will do is spend it on McDonalds, on purses, on ice cream!), it is in fact just the opposite.

As Zinkiewicz explained, “Teens will stimulate the economy. While adults go and take the money from their paycheck and put it away into credit card payments, into savings account, teens will most likely spend the money immediately and boost local, community businesses.” So many people need to work – including teens. There are those teenagers – perhaps more than you’d think – who want to help, who want to work, and who need to work. It is to our advantage to have a workforce population of all ages that  have the skill set and that understand what work means and thus feel prepared to work. Having that is a value to employers in a community, not a hindrance.

Troubled Youth Empowered by ARRA Enhanced WIA Youth Programs

NCAC understands this completely, which is why for the past six years they’ve worked directly with teens to help them move forward in the workforce and into their lives. Aside from the ARRA WIA Youth Supplemental funded internships, the broader ARRAWIAYouth grant has allowed for NCAC to expand its other youth programs. The majority of the young people in the basic WIA Youth programs are facing serious barriers (such as pregnancy, drop-out, foster care, etc) and thus they statistically face even more opposition when it comes to finding a job. NCAC works with these young people to help them gain confidence by setting them up with their own mentor. Zinkiewicz explains that these mentors “believe that any young person can succeed and will succeed. We all have high expectations for our youth, and our goal is to work together with them in order to help them advance on in life.”  And, in the end, that will show these young people that they are worthy and capable of doing whatever it is they want to in life.

For teenagers, first jobs are a big deal. There are those that want one so that they can buy shoes and fill up their gas tanks. There are also those who need a job so that they can help support their family and themselves. Regardless of why a teen may get a job, all teens benefit from having one. As a community, not allowing our teenagers to work is not only doing them a disservice – but doing the entire community a disservice.

The federal Government has recognized the need for change amongst teens, and in giving the Nashville Career Advancement Center the ARRA WIA Youth and ARRA WIA Youth Supplemental grants, they are supporting that effort for change. They are allowing for NCAC to take the initiative into directing the future. They believe in the youth and the future of Nashville.

As Ellen Zinkiewicz says, “These kids that we work with – no matter where they’ve come from, what decisions they’ve made – they’re great kids. Hopefully programs like this, having them go out and work [with adults], will remind and show adults that teens are capable [of working] and are, in fact, going somewhere.”

Nashville mayor: Education is key to attracting tech jobs

June 28, 2010

Metro, chamber start work on Partnership 2020’s 5-year plan
By G. Chambers Williams III – The Tennessean – June 22, 2010

Improving public education remains the top goal of Mayor Karl Dean as his administration and the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce begin work on a new five-year economic development plan.

Education is the key to bringing higher-paying technology jobs to Nashville, a key focus of the so-called Partnership 2020 initiative outlined at a chamber gathering Monday afternoon.

It’s a new take on the program the city and the chamber first launched in 1990, which most recently has been known as Partnership 2010 and has been credited with bringing more than 600 new companies to the area over those two decades.

“Our focus has changed,” the mayor said before addressing chamber members. “There will be more of an emphasis on facets of our economy such as music, where a lot of the technology jobs will be created. But education is the single biggest thing we need to get right.”

While the push will be to attract jobs in the technology sector, the city won’t just be going blindly looking for those companies, said Ron Samuels, the outgoing chamber chairman and president of Avenue Bank.

Instead, Samuels said, the city will try to leverage its existing music industry to attract new jobs, focusing on “new delivery channels” in entertainment, which is undergoing rapid changes fueled by technological innovation and digital downloads.

“The focus will be on innovation, to take advantage of patents created in this area that can help attract new capital,” the longtime banker said.

Wright takes new role

Jim Wright, chairman and chief executive officer of Nashville-based Tractor Supply Co., said he’s eager to begin serving as co-chairman, with Dean, as the chamber’s push for jobs ramps up. Wright replaces Regions Bank executive Keith Herron.

“I’ve been a part of it for the past seven or eight years, and it works as a public-private partnership,” Wright said. “I’ve been involved as an investor, and I have seen the overall benefits to the economy from (Partnership 2010).”

For the next phase, Wright said, “We looked at our strengths versus those of competing communities such as Austin, Indianapolis and Charlotte, and concluded that we have the assets to grow not just jobs, but the right kind of jobs.”

Wright, who moved to Nashville in 2000, told the group: “This is an area where you can grow a business, raise a family and enjoy a great quality of life.” That’s the message Nashville leaders intend to deliver to business prospects.

The five target areas of Partnership 2020 include expanding corporate operations, such as new headquarters and customer service/call centers; building on the area’s already robust health-care industry; bringing in more advanced manufacturing, including “green” industries; boosting the music, entertainment and creative fields; and emphasizing “supply-chain management,” such as transportation links that can take advantage of Nashville’s interstate highway network.

No time to relax

Other goals of the plan are to increase economic diversity, develop the work force, improve the region’s livability and focus on regional collaboration, including improving mass transit.

Even though the previous program was considered a great success, with 233,955 new jobs brought to the area over the past 20 years, Wright said this is no time to relax.

“We can be proud of much, but satisfied with nothing,” he said. “It’s time for new job-creation strategies, and we need to leave nothing to chance.”

Additional Facts

JOBLESS RATES IN NASHVILLE VS. PEERS

City | April unemployment
Austin: 7%
Raleigh-Cary, N.C.: 8.3%
Indianapolis: 9%
Nashville: 9.2%
Atlanta: 9.8%
Charlotte: 11.1%
SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Yahoo! HotJobs – The Savvy Networker

June 25, 2010

Yahoo! HotJobs – The Savvy Networker.