Guest post: helping San Francisco job seekers gain skills

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Amid San Francisco’s red-hot economy, it’s easy to miss that 23,000 residents remain unemployed — and nearly 40 percent are considered long-term unemployed, meaning that they have been out of work for over six months.

With employer discrimination, skill erosion and diminishing confidence, it’s tough for these job seekers – even those who are highly educated – to find work.

JVS (@JVSBayArea) is a San Francisco nonprofit that helps job seekers build skills and get trained so that they can compete in today’s job market. Some of the city’s leading companies, including Twitter, partner with JVS by providing volunteers who work with job seekers to build their skills and connections through resume reviews, mock interviews and networking events.

On June 6, Twitter employees conducted practice interviews and critiqued resumes for 20 JVS clients. This skill-based volunteer event was organized as part of the Twitter #FridayforGood day of service. The opportunity to work with Twitter volunteers was so popular that there was a waitlist of more than 40 job seekers who wanted to participate! And they raved about the experience. One job seeker commented, “I’m so grateful for the opportunity to improve my skills and get feedback from a Twitter professional.”

Guest post: helping San Francisco job seekers gain skills

Twitter came to JVS to provide long-term unemployed people with job-seeker training.

These skill building events offer long-term unemployed people who have been disconnected from the world of work, an opportunity to practice their skills and gather feedback from a working professional. These events can be the catalyst that put job seekers on their path to landing their next job. For example, one job seeker reported that the Twitter event helped her overcome her anxiety about behavioral interview questions. The feedback she received also helped her prepare for a phone interview. She flew through the phone interview, and is moving on to the next phase of the interview process!

The Twitter employees were moved by the job seekers’ stories and impressed by their strong skill sets. Many were confused as to why these people were out of work, and frustrated that they had been overlooked by employers – predictably because of the gap on their resume. Since June 6, Twitter senior recruiter Jason Vallandigham has provided additional feedback to JVS program staff who are evaluating different training program ideas targeted at helping the long-term unemployed get back to work.

The job seekers gained an invaluable experience that will help them be successful in their job search, thanks to the generosity of Twitter’s team. JVS would like to thank Twitter for playing a key role in helping these individuals build skills and find a path toward sustainable work.