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Catholic parish in Kentucky helps job seekers ‘re-brand’ amid coronavirus

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by Perry West

Denver Newsroom, Jul 29, 2020 / 11:35 am MT (CNA).- As numerous U.S businesses have closed because of the effects of the coronavirus, a Kentucky parish has opened a ministry to help job seekers “rethink” the job hunt during the pandemic.

“Rethinking Employment: New-Age Branding” is led by Brayton Bowen, a parishioner of Louisville’s Epiphany Parish with 20 years of experience in human resources.

He told CNA that the organization not only prepares people for work but it also offers clients emotional support, noting that self-esteem can take a hit from losing a job.

“This is a ministry to help individuals who are either unemployed or underemployed,” he said. “We are helping individuals with resume writing …. interviewing skills, and finances during unemployed periods.”

A client will first reach out to Bowen and then be connected to a specialist in the field. Because of the pandemic, the people are connected through email, telephone, or Skype. While the ministry is faith-based, clients do not need to be Catholics.

Bowen said the ministry will provide virtual workshops on employment skills with other members of the group, which is encouraged to be anonymous. He said this group setting helps individuals find opportunities for networking. The ministry will also publish notices about job fairs, personal branding tips, and other employment opportunities.

The apostolate focuses on personal branding and how to advertise oneself as competent in technology. He said a big point is developing a “virtual selfie” that helps businesses recognize the potential employee as efficient in the current age.

“The realization is that more and more of the opportunities going forward are going to be dependent upon technology. So we want people to become more comfortable using technology. We want them to market themselves so that they’re seen as technologically relevant, not necessarily super skilled, but relevant in an economy that is prompting people to work from home or work virtually,” he said.

He said that while rebranding, the organization also helps clients focus on their human dignity. He said the experience of losing a job can be strenuous and it is important for people to understand they are unique.

“They have skills, abilities, and competencies. They’re in transition for sure, but they are unique and God only made one of them and they walk and talk in the shape of the particular brand that they have,” he said.

“We really want them to understand that a job is what they do, but it’s not who they are. We really want to build their self-esteem and help them re-establish their footing.”

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