While the holidays might bring a brief respite for many during this turbulent era of COVID-19, for folks experiencing unemployment and cutbacks, the stress can feel compounded as winter approaches and the search continues. Rogers Free Library in Bristol has curated a free virtual job series designed specifically with our current job climate in mind to help ease the process with tangible, guided steps. Job Strategies for Challenging Times introduces participants to the governor’s Back to Work RI initiative, a public-private partnership centered around training and hiring, along with a range of specialized topics.
“The series reflects the importance of lifelong learning to livelihoods and offers something of value to participants,” says Catherine Murray, a member of the Friends of Rogers Free Library, the nonprofit foundation funding the series. “They can develop capacity, digital literacy, and agency by creating a strong social media profile, taking steps to grow a professional network, thinking through a game plan for the next career move, and practicing stress-management techniques.” Beyond the practical job skills each seminar focuses on, participants can also find community within the library network during a time when lasting connections can be difficult to forge. While “virtual” may seem intimidating to many, these webinars are designed to be interactive and supportive, with small group breakout sessions and individualized feedback.
Murray explains that perhaps the most relevant webinar taking place this month, on December 15, is all about coping with stress: “Searching for a job can be stressful even in a healthy economy, and the current unknowns about economic recovery only exacerbate stress levels in an unusual holiday season.” Even people currently holding jobs but anticipating changes in employment on the horizon can benefit from the relaxation techniques, decision-making approaches, and confidence strategies taught.
Whether you’re looking to make a career pivot or reentering the job market after 20 years and seeking resume feedback, Murray explains, “The series includes a variety of webinars because participants’ needs will vary. Some industries have been harder hit by the pandemic and economic shutdown than others.” The three career service professionals leading the webinars – Audra Lavoie, Mohamed Kante, and Sabrina Woods – offer up their experience and expertise to help participants through their unique circumstances.
All programs are free and open to anyone, but online registration is required. Beyond Job Strategies for Challenging Times, Rogers Free Library also grants cardholders free access to resources like Lynda.com, with a variety of instructional videos on job skills, resume tips, and software tutorials.