Networking event opens doors


Newspapers, public and private employment agencies, corporate job boards and commercial websites all work for the job seeker, but the best of the lot when you’re looking for employment is networking.

The statistics vary a bit, but most of the evidence suggests networking delivers 80% of all hires.

With that number in mind, the Humber College-St. Clair West Resource Centre is hosting a community networking event on Nov. 22, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 1345 St. Clair Ave. West.

Antoniette Di Marco, an employment specialist for the centre, says the idea behind the networking event is to raise the centre’s profile and introduce job seekers to the many services it offers.

“People don’t know we exist,” Di Marco says. “We need to let people know.”

The centre offers a multitude of services — all free. Workshops or one-on-one sessions are offered in such subjects as: how to apply properly online (it’s trickier than you think), resume and cover letter preparation, interview tips and techniques, and skills assessments. There is also instruction on everyday computer applications such as e-mail, the Internet, Excel, PowerPoint and Publisher. “There are so many workshops I don’t know where to begin,” Di Marco says.

Experienced workers
There are also programs for youth at the centre and for anyone over the age of 40, there’s the Centre for Experienced Workers program at the same location, she says. It offers a three-week structured course for those actively looking for a job, Di Marco says. The Experienced Workers program helps participants problem-solve their employment difficulties together and learn how to overcome built-in barriers such as age discrimination, and, if need be, learn to use computers.

In addition to its services, the centre also provides its clients with computers, both IBM and iMacs, laser printers, scanners, CD writers, photocopying, telephones, high speed Internet access and faxing across North America. Guest speakers are also part of the centre’s portfolio of services. Clients will learn the latest on hiring processes, interviewing techniques and labour market news, and get tips from HR staff, employment agencies and educational institutions.

The centre itself is funded by Employment Ontario with some help from the federal government, and is co-ordinated by Humber College.

Apart from the Experienced Workers program, Di Marco makes clear that all other programs, services and resources are available drop-in style. And, of course, there is staff on hand to offer assistance and continuing job search support.

Di Marco says the Nov. 22 event will give the centre and its clients a chance to network, provide clients with a chance to meet centre staff, and an opportunity to find out more about programs funded by Employment Ontario. And if there isn’t a program at the centre that meets the needs of a client, Di Marco continues, then she or her colleagues will know where to direct them.

Some of the services available at the networking event include employment assessment and counselling, adult learning and literacy, social services, apprenticeship training, and international training and mentorship programs.

Some of the exhibitors include the Learning Enrichment Foundation, Skills for Change: Newcomer Services, the Humber College Mentorship program, St. Stephen’s Employment and Training Centre, COSTI, and the Toronto District School Board and Mobilizer, which specializes in youth outreach.

Quick Facts

– The community networking event is on Nov. 22.

– Attendees should bring along a resume.

– Networking is generally recognized as the best way to find work.

– All resources and services at the centre are free.

– The centre offers specialized programs for youth and older workers.