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Ministries provide support amid job loss

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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

By Paul McKibben

ST. FRANCIS DE SALES DEANERY — Ministries at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish (IHM) in Anderson Township are helping the unemployed hone their skills to find work and provide emotional support to help cope with a job loss.
Sandy Keiser, community education specialist and consultant at Catholic Charities SouthWestern Ohio, serves as the facilitator of the parish’s job loss support group. The ministry focuses on helping people to find work and how to do such tasks as preparing a resume.


Members of Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish’s job search ministry
Members of Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish’s job search ministry help the unemployed. Pictured from left in back are Nancy Massaron, Greg Kissel, June Schlueter, and Steve Molloy. In front are Michelle Beckham-Corbin and Kerry Kane Miller. (CT/Paul McKibben)

Keiser said the job search ministry’s leadership team approached her for guidance in March after realizing there was a piece missing from their efforts.
“We sat down and talked about how when people lose a job, it’s really no different than any other loss that they experience,” she said. “If they lose a family member, spouse or a parent, or there’s a divorce, all those feelings get stirred up inside people. They question who they are.”
Keiser said the support group provides a safe place for people to sit and talk about the implications of the loss for themselves, their families and their children and get support and validation for that. She said when one has experienced something difficult like a job loss, it’s hard to compartmentalize and put those feelings on the back burner when going into an interview or new job situation.
“If I go into a new job interview with my shoulders down because I’m feeling really bad because I was let go or I’m anticipating that you’re not going to hire me, it’s going to be very different then when I sit up straight and look at you and make good eye contact and I’m confident,” she said.
The job loss support group has been meeting since April. Keiser said the group, which is confidential, is small, usually between two and six people, with participants’ ages ranging from 25 to 60. Among those who have attended the support group is a single mother of two from the eastern Cincinnati area. She was laid off from her full-time job almost two years ago and was given a severance package.
“No matter what happens, no matter what the circumstances, no matter how positive you keep it around you, (to lose your job is) a self-esteem slap in the face in so many ways,” she said.
She added that she never had the chance to deal with the emotional side of her job loss beyond her own little circle of friends. She said the support group has allowed her to heal through “just being able to get in there and talk about it.”
The job search ministry meets 7-8:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month. Past topics and speakers have included information about the impact of job loss on marriage and family and the social networking website Linked­In. The speaker on Aug. 12 was Corinne George of FranchiseMart in Blue Ash, who talked about how to start a franchise. Future speakers will discuss such topics as looking for jobs beyond popular Internet sites like CareerBuilder.com and Monster.com and job loss and the holidays.
Greg Kissel, an IHM parishioner and a member of the job search ministry team, said when he lost his position nearly two years ago, he went to the parish office where a pamphlet was being distributed about job loss. He asked Father Thomas Kreidler, IHM’s pastor, if they could digitize the information, and the priest suggested starting a support group. The Thursday night programs began in January 2009.

Another aspect of the job search ministry is a program that meets the last Saturday of the month. It started in August 2009. Steve Molloy, a parishioner and a member of the job search ministry team, said the four-hour workshop, which is free, offers all of the skills and training that people need to take their job search to the next level. Topics discussed include appropriate responses to interview questions, incorporating social media sites into the job search, resumes and cover letters and job search strategies.
Molloy said the workshop was started to consolidate the information presented during the Thursday night sessions. “What we did is change our business model a little bit, and we set up our Thursday night sessions to offer more of technical kind of discussions on how to open up a franchise, what you can do in networking, different things like that,” he said. “And then we pulled together all those different topics that we used to offer and put it into a four-hour workshop.”
The Thursday and Saturday programs have attracted many people. Molloy said more than 500 job seekers have come through the Thursday night series, and about 190 people have taken part in the Saturday workshop. The job search ministry has a Yahoo group that includes information on job openings that might not be posted on websites and handouts from the group’s meetings.
All of the unemployment programs are open to the general public. For meeting information for the job loss support group, visit www.ihom.org/jlsg, or contact Keiser at 513-241-7745 or [email protected]. For more information about the job search ministry, visit www.ihom.org/jsm, or e-mail [email protected].
Programs for those seeking employment help are also available in the Diocese of Covington. Thomas More College in Crestview Hills will offer a one-hour resume workshop on Oct. 4 from 10-11 a.m., and again from 3-4 p.m. at the Center for Adult Professional Education, 365 Thomas More Parkway.
A job fair, conducted in partnership with the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, is scheduled for Oct. 7 from 4:30-7 p.m., at the college’s Connor Convocation Center, 333 Thomas More Parkway. In addition, a workshop is planned during the job fair at 4:30 p.m., and again at 6 p.m., dealing with how people age 50 and older can make themselves more marketable.
To register for the workshop and the job fair, visit http://mytmcdegrees.com.


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