Stuart Armstrong has seen many job seekers come and go in his years as a career coach.
They often fit a familiar profile. Many are depressed and frustrated in their job search; some are eager to reinvent themselves, ready for a fresh start in a career they have always wanted to pursue. Others want to get back in the game after a long time away from the work world.
For nearly five years, Bayside Church's Career Coaching in Roseville has helped area job seekers build the confidence, interviewing chops and job hunting skills they need to get back into the workplace.
"We give them the practice of telling their story," said Armstrong, who is now an employment coach after a lengthy career as an engineer for Hewlett-Packard. "They're not alone. They have support."
The program launched in February 2009 during the depths of the recession with volunteers from the Bayside Church and local professionals from the Sacramento area, basing its courses on employment guru Richard Bolles' popular "What Color is Your Parachute" books.
The weekly Monday sessions at Bayside Conference Center, 8303 Sierra College Blvd., feature speakers from the local job market, résumé help and individual career coaching, interviewing and skills assessment workshops.
There are also networking nights in which group participants meet and greet local employers and other professionals and hone their "elevator pitches" the 30-second introduction to potential employers.
At the networking nights, "you are meeting 70 people who are working in the Sacramento region," said Dan Lott, Bayside's director of career services. He helped found the program as a Bayside volunteer after a 32-year career in sales and marketing that included four job searches.
"You have your job objective, elevator pitch, your business cards, and you talk for two hours," Lott continued. "It reinforces networking, and some people find jobs."
The program also has referral agreements with local personnel agencies, giving program graduates a leg up in their job search.
About 2,500 people have registered for the three-month program since its inception. At least 900 by Lott's count have successfully found work.
"More than 900 people told us, 'We found jobs.' It gives hope and encouragement to the people in the room," Lott said. "In the context of a church community, we want to give them hope. They're discouraged. We say, 'Welcome. We're here to encourage you.' "
For more information on Bayside Career Coaching, visit baysideonline.com/career-coaching.
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Terri Carpenter, spokeswoman with the Sacramento Employment and Training Agency, will answer your questions at www.sacbee.com/personalfinanceblog.
Call The Bee's Darrell Smith, (916) 321-1040.