1. How is Job Seekers Network different than the other job clubs in town?

a)     We place a high value on each individual and try to get to know each person as they come into the program, understand their current status, and help them take their next step.

b)    We believe that a combination of emotional, physical and spiritual assistance is needed for job seekers to be in the best position to find a job.  The loss of a job is rated as a top stressor for an individual after the loss of a loved one, poor health and divorce.  Typically, job seekers are also dealing with other stressors as well.  Due to the partnership with the church (ministry referral, facilities and modest expenses) and capabilities of the coaches, JSN not only helps job seekers become successful with their job search, but also with other areas of their life. We equip job seekers to respond in a healthy way when something “bad” happens. We have testimonies of marriages being saved and helping people avoid financial crisis.

c)     JSN emphasizes the difference between a job, a career and a calling.  About 50% of job seekers are not clear about their next career step and we are the only job assistance group in Austin with consistent program offerings to address this. A job seeker really can’t network or prepare a resume effectively without knowing what their position focus will be.  Many times, this is the most thought provoking and difficult part of the job search.   We have four different program offerings to help job seekers in this area.

d)    JSN uses talented/experienced volunteer coaches to train job seekers at the Monday morning events.  These coaches are typically very knowledgeable in their field of expertise.   For example, we have a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) who donates her time to Job Seekers Network.  Others include a small business consultant, sales training consultant (every job seeker is a sales person), and a former Disney senior manager (helps JSN in our guest experience) just to name a few.  The coaches are committed to helping job seekers and many have been a part of the JSN team for several years.  The coaches are the reason why JSN is able to offer exceptional professional training at low or no-cost.

e)     JSN is a Christian ministry affiliated with the church.  We believe that life transformation is found in Jesus Christ and that the Bible and prayer are relevant to a job seeker’s job search and life.  We anticipate God will supernaturally impact all areas of a job seeker’s life.

2.  How many people typically attend on Monday morning and what kind of job seekers typically attend?

JSN has been averaging 80-120 job seekers depending upon the time of year.  All types of job seekers attend and find value from our meetings: professionals from high tech, corporate and sales backgrounds, those from retail and service industries, teachers and tradesman, etc.

3.  Do you meet every Monday morning?

We take holidays off and some breaks.  We don’t meet President’s Day, Spring Break, Memorial Day, 2nd and 3rd weeks of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and the last two weeks of December.

4.  Looks like the economy is getting better, what’s the need for this non-profit?

There will always be those that need job search services.  But more important, most of the employed and job seekers need to understand there is a higher meaning in life than just having a job.

5.  I thought the Texas Workforce Commission provided all these services?

They provide most of these services but JSN addresses these in a more individualized or small group setting with an emphasis on the emotional and spiritual aspects of the job search as well.

6.  I’ve heard that the true unemployment rate is higher than the published rate.  Is that true? 

Government unemployment numbers for Austin – Round Rock – San Marcos[1] for May 2012 was 5.9% (56,527 individuals).  Collectively, these areas are about the same as the prior month and .9% better than prior year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  In comparison, the State of Texas unemployment numbers for May were 6.9% and the national numbers were 8.2%.   However, many believe the government’s unemployment numbers do not tell the whole story.  Shadow Government Statistics adjust the government’s numbers for estimated long term discouraged workers.  When adjusted, the national numbers rise from 8.1% to almost 23%.  That could mean the “true” unemployment number for the Austin area was 18% – 20%, or around 180,000 people.

7.  Do I have to be a member or join anything to come to a meeting?  Is there any cost?

Our meetings and breakout sessions on Mondays are free and JSN does not exclude, deny benefits to, or otherwise discriminate against any person on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, or age, church or religious background in admission to, participation in, or receipt of the services and benefits under any of its programs and activities.  There are several special series we run which cost under $100 for at least a four week class.  Some other programming may involve costs as well.

8.  Is childcare available?

At this time there is not enough demand to offer childcare.

[1] Department of Numbers, http://www.deptofnumbers.com/unemployment/texas/austin/