June 8, 2016 // Local

New career ministry helps those seeking jobs

Organizers plan to take the program online to accommodate more people

By Lauren Caggiano

FORT WAYNE — A new ministry at St. Vincent de Paul in Fort Wayne is focused on catering to the needs of local jobseekers.

There is a spiritual component of job searching — something co-organizer Molly Roman wanted to address with the ministry.

Roman moved back to Fort Wayne after being away for several years and wanted to find a way to give back while building on her experience in the business world. So she approached Father Dan Scheidt at St. Vincent’s with her idea and was able to gain some momentum. She met with several volunteers who were interested in helping — many of which were in Human Resources or management. The end result is the Career Ministry program.

The group has met several times and has taken a variety of formats. For example, in May they had a speaker who led an exercise based on two books. And in February they hosted mock interview sessions. Volunteers helped critique jobseekers’ answers. They’ve seen a great interest when speakers have been part of the program.  They’ve had as many as 20 attendees at some sessions.

According to Roman, regardless of the format, everyone receives career coaching and resume review. The intent is to be a positive, nurturing and supporting environment. Anyone is invited, regardless of faith or religious background. They approach job seeking in a holistic way.

“Our goal in this ministry is to really give people help and hope,” she said. “We look at the person and not at the resume.”

Discouragement can block progress and Roman and her team want to remove any barriers to success. Speaking of success, Roman said she hopes the ministry can connect jobseekers with employers in a variety of industries.  She said she would love to recruit more volunteers, especially those with hiring experience. The more volunteers, the more people they can help.

Parishioner Lizzy Klee is one jobseeker who has benefited from this ministry. She currently works two part-time jobs, but is looking for something full-time.

“I went (to the program) one evening, had an enjoyable time, and learned some tips to help me with my resume and future interviews,” she said. “Molly asked for my resume so she could forward it to potential employers. I interviewed with one man a few weeks later as a result.”

Fellow parishioner John Taylor speaks highly of the ministry and volunteers. He said he found the team to be talented and experienced — offering “useful tips and advice for career seeking skills, resume building, interviewing skills, etc.”

He also acknowledged the spiritual aspect. The ministry was a source of comfort in times of uncertainty for him. Life changed pretty dramatically in a short amount of time. As he shared, Taylor was working a sales job which required significant travel; he was sometimes on the road for days at a time.

“I knew things had to change for me to be a better husband and to eventually be a great father. It was no longer about me, it was about us,” he said. “We wanted to start a family right away, and I’m happy to share we just had our first child this month.”

At the end of October, his position with John Paul Mitchell Systems was eliminated, and he began actively seeking new opportunities. The career ministry was a vehicle for that search.

“(It) certainly helps you discover what you can do to move in the direction you want to go,” he said about the ministry. “Each time I attended I was also reminded of how important our faith is, and to seek strength from the Lord in prayer.”

Roman hopes to help many more people who have a need for career guidance. For the busy summer months, the organizers plan to take the program online to accommodate more people.

The programing will consist of one-on-one coaching (by appointment only) and a three-part webinar series: Utilizing Faith, Hope and Love to Achieve Job Search Success.

“We will break down faith, hope and love into structured frameworks and exercises to give you tools and clarity to reduce your stress and drive you towards success,” Roman said.

To sign up for the summer webinar series, or to schedule a one-on-one coaching appointment (by phone or in person), simply email [email protected] with your request. Live networking events will resume in September.

Anyone interested in the ministry is invited to check out the Facebook and LinkedIn groups “Career Ministry at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church” for updates, job postings and networking opportunities.

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