MassHire: an effective resource for all job seekers
By Susan Jepson
In 40 years of work as a career counselor and workforce development professional the most frequent question I have been asked is this: “What’s the best way to find a job?” My answer is always some variation of “The way that works best for you.”
While there is plenty of advice on the Internet, including articles that offer “a secret sauce” or “a best way,” experience proves that job seekers meander very different paths to success. The Internet; job-search groups; networking meet ups; outplacement firms; private career counselors and career services; college career services offices; employment placement agencies; union halls; professional associations, and more can all offer terrific value and should be tapped appropriately if someone is job hunting.
While there is no “one size fits all” method to effectively search for a job, there is one resource that absolutely should be on everyone’s list, regardless of occupation, job goal, or education and training. In Massachusetts we are lucky to have unlimited access to a network of over 30 MassHire Career Centers across the state. The centers are free to use, open to all people (not just the unemployed!), and provide a wide variety of services to help people get work!
What are MassHire Career Centers?
Basically, the MassHire Career Centers are brick and mortar locations across the state and are there to help you find a job.
The centers are open to everyone, unemployed or not, and have the power and economies of scale of the state’s entire workforce system to offer state-of-the-art assistance to job-hunters and employers. You are welcome at any of the centers; many people use multiple centers in their employment search. The centers offer workshops; job counseling; training in job-hunting technology like LinkedIn and Twitter, and services to overcome barriers to employment. They help job seekers polish resumes and interviewing skills – and much more!
Years ago we had government-funded unemployment offices where unemployed people went to view microfilmed listings of open jobs. The government-funded workforce-development system has come a long way since those days. In mid-2018, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts took another big step and rebranded the entire system as “MassHire,” with the tag line “Let’s Get to Work.” Before this rebranding, much of the target audience – job seekers and employers who needed to fill jobs – were either unaware of or had a negative impression of how they could use state resources.
Who can get help at the MassHire Career Center?
Anyone (employed or not) looking for any kind of job and anyone trying to sort out their job options. In the past year, I have witnessed many people successfully using the resources at MassHire Career Centers. A sampling:
• A nurse seeking a part time job after retirement.
• A young man seeking help getting his GED after his prison release.
• A logistics engineer from China seeking a toehold in the Massachusetts job market.
• A pharma marketing manager, laid off for the third time in three years.
• A plumber with a health problem who must find a different way to make a living.
• A veteran transitioning from active military service to civilian employment.
• A bookkeeping clerk who worked at the same company for 28 years before it closed for good.
Tell me more about services for job seekers
A quick review of the hundreds of events taking place in November at the MassHire Career Centers reveals: multiple Veterans Day workshops and job fairs; workshops about using LinkedIn and Twitter in a job search; basic and advanced resume skills training; MS Outlook training; help negotiating job offers and salaries; behavioral interviewing training; sessions about completing online job applications; ABE/GED/HiSet training, and recruiting sessions where employers come on site at MassHire centers.
In addition, MassHire Centers participate in a statewide online JobQuest, a job-bank, training-finder, and career-assessment tool that gets updated regularly. Registering is free and you can access online.
Most MassHire Career Centers also have resource areas where there are free computers, printers, fax machines, and telephones for your use if you need them.
While the MassHire Career Centers are NOT the unemployment office, many centers have an unemployment representative on site one or two days a week where you can go if you are having issues with a claim. Additionally, most unemployment insurance recipients in Massachusetts are required to access services at MassHire Career Centers. But it’s good to remember that services are open to everyone, not just those receiving UI benefits.
If you want to meet with a career counselor or find out about any special-training funds for which you may be eligible, inquire at a MassHire Career Center to find out their protocols for those services.
If you happen to be an employer reading this, know that there are numerous free services for you as well, and the centers would welcome your call.
For additional questions or information about the MassHire Career Center system, either contact your local career center or go to go to their website. Don’t miss the opportunity to add this resource to your job-hunting toolkit.
Susan Jepson is a career-development professional who has worked for a variety of organizations, but always with the commitment to supporting people grow and move forward in their lives. She has worked at a MassHire Career Center; run a federally funded back-to-work program for older workers in Massachusetts; counseled students in community college, and more. She was a key member of the collaborative task force that created a successful proposal for the first One Stop Career Center in Boston in 1996, now called MassHire Boston Career Center.