Giving Job Seekers 'Hope' in a Weak Labor Market

By ColumnsFOXBusiness

Finding a job in the current labor market is a full-time job. For unemployed job seekers, every penny counts, especially when it comes to finding resources to help find and land a position. On top of that, the financial, psychological and emotional toll a job loss can have on an individual and family can be overwhelming.

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In my quest to uncover free resources for applicants, I came across Hiring for Hope, a non-profit organization taking a holistic approach to help job seekers become employed and help cope with the situation. According to its founder and president Tegan Acree, the grassroots organization is “focused on reshaping the way people and organizations think, talk, act, and interact with each other.” Hiring for Hope  offers a wide range of support services designed to help “build a solid support structure” and “develop coping skills” to deal with the tremendous uncertainty of these times. Acree thinks of the organization as a life management community that provides:

-Career and family building management

-Financial assistance

-Online networking/support

-Workforce solutions

How it Works

Employers typically contact Hiring for Hope because they have workforce challenges and/or are looking to fill positions. Hiring for Hope uses their database and social networks to match employers with jobseekers. As a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization, the organization supports itself by charging a fee to employers when they fill a position through its matching system. According to Hiring for Hope’s website, “these fees, combined with funds realized from our business partnerships and national fundraising efforts, make it possible for us to provide all of our free services”.

From the job-seeker side, Acree says job seekers need more than just job-seeking assistance; they need to better understand job-search technology and need personalized moral support. To help meet both these needs it offers two free services for job seekers: The JobAngels and Career Angels programs. 

Social Media Engagement - The JobAngels Program

According to Acree, many mature workers aren’t very savvy when it comes to modern job-search technology. To get them more engaged with the online world of job searching, the organization offers the JobAngels program, a virtual community that is committed to help users find gainful employment.

Acree describes it as a community of like-minded people who have come together to either seek help or pay-it-forward by helping others. JobAngels members connect through the Voices of Hope technology that links mainstream social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to expand users’ networks.

The only requirement for becoming a Hiring for Hope JobAngels is an altruistic passion for aiding those around you. The idea is that even if you are seeking employment, you may still be able to help others in your same situation. Acree says this keeps job seekers engaged and feeling like they are providing value to others. According to the website, JobAngels participants have sent more than 2.5 million messages of encouragement and feedback to members in need while sharing job postings and leads with others in the network. As a result of the JobAngels program, nearly 1,700 people have found gainful employment.

Individual Support - Career Angels Program

The Career Angels program is a complimentary one-on-one coaching service that matches job seekers with a volunteer coach for a two-week period. The coaches are typically experienced human resources professionals with a background in recruiting and hiring. Acree was prompted to start the program because she felt that so many people had given up on their job search. The idea is to give people that extra lift by providing them with an expert to help give them the little nudge to get back into the game.

The organization has certainly been a success. Hiring for Hope currently has more than 50,000 national and international members and nearly 150 volunteers. To date, Acree and her team claim to have helped put more than  3,000 people back to work and provided nearly 12,000 hours of free one-on-one career coaching.

Michael “Dr. Woody” Woodward, PhD is a CEC certified executive coach trained in organizational psychology. Dr. Woody is author of The YOU Plan: A 5-step Guide to Taking Charge of Your Career in the New Economy and is the founder of Human Capital Integrated (HCI), a firm focused on management and leadership development. Dr. Woody also sits on the advisory board of the Florida International University Center for Leadership.Follow Dr. Woody on Twitter and Facebook 

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