This is the career story of a career planning facilitator as told to LatPro. This site features real stories from Hispanic professionals in a myriad of professions. If you have considered a career in the employment industry, read on to learn what the job is really like from this Career Planning Facilitator. Visit LatPro for more interviews with employment professionals including one from a Refugee Employer Services Representative a College Career Counselor and many others.
I am a Career Planning Facilitator for a local government employment facility that oversees workforce development and adult education. For the past two years, I’ve worked directly with clients who are largely displaced workers looking for employment. I’d describe myself as patient, tenacious and efficient, three things that are an absolute must for this type of work.
Because I am a female Caucasian and the facility I work in is largely run by other women, sexual discrimination is not an issue.
My job is a fairly complex; I offer services for displaced workers including but not limited to: job planning, assisting with job seeking and applications, helping to find appropriate remedial training or post-secondary education for eventual employment, and a number of other tasks that all cater to helping a person find a job through our programs or partner facilities.
When rating my job on a satisfaction scale of 1-10, I would frankly admit that my satisfaction level is somewhere in the mid-range of 5-6. The situation could be improved with better budgeting, more efficient systems for processing paperwork and more dedicated people. Despite maneuvering around office politics, I do get satisfaction out of knowing I am doing all I can to help a person get back on their feet and find a new job. There is no better news I can receive than getting a “thank you” letter from someone who has just landed a new job or completed training that will enable them to be employed.
I was offered the position when I attended the adult education program with my husband to help him with his remedial math skills after his automotive plant closed its doors in 2009. Had I known then what I did now, I could have helped dozens of people at a much earlier stage in the entire career training and career placement process; the training I received was largely self-directed and resources trickled in slowly and reluctantly from co-workers. However, because I come from a blue collar working family myself, I understand the situation many of my clients are in, and have been able to reach them on a deeper level than many of my white collar co-workers who do tend to “talk down” to laborers and tradesmen.
Dealing with the inefficiency of upper management, the money wasted on luncheons, parties and expensive hotel rooms during conferences has nearly made me resign several times. I’ve worked alongside those with PhD’s who could not manage to get simple reports done correctly or on time. This inefficiency cost several co-workers their jobs. I’ve also had to come to terms the sad fact that there are some cognitively impaired displaced workers whom I’ve not been able to help due to program restrictions and the simple fact they will need directed, one-on-one training for re-employment that I was not able to give them, which was possibly the hardest lesson to learn.
Dealing with stressed out and desperate clients makes my job a demanding position that requires an incredible amount of compassion and patience. I make $11 per hour, though some of my co-workers make up to three times that amount. I do not receive vacation time and I have minimal benefits.
If I were referring a friend or family member into this line of work, I would be frank about the absolute need for time management skills, computer skills, and patience while dealing with customers. Some college might be necessary for learning the basics of spreadsheet software. The working world has little to due with books and texts. Common sense, unfortunately, is not very common. It is likely the oddest thing I’ve had to witness time and time again at work.
In five years, I would like to move on from this field of work and pursue other interests more directly focused in the adult education field.
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