CONNECTing Talent to Employment

CONNECTing Talent to Employment

Chip Skinner was out of work for about four months when his neighbor suggested he contact FloridaWorks. Skinner was laid off when his company lost a re-compete bid, and after not finding good leads on his own, he began attending FloridaWorks CONNECT meetings.

“I was drawn to CONNECT because of its mission to keep local talent in the area and the relationship with, the Chamber and local businesses,” Skinner said.

Resume critiques, introductions to employers and employment agencies, a support network of other job seekers and a positive atmosphere are what kept Skinner coming back. He also utilized services at the FloridaWorks One-Stop Career Center. Skinner said he was reluctant to go to FloridaWorks because of the stigma attached to unemployment. However, once he asked for help, he had a positive experience.

“Everyone helping job seekers at FloridaWorks was upbeat, informative and professional,” Skinner said. “They provided a realistic look at my resume and skill set to help with my search. I even received e-mails from their representatives pointing me in the direction of potential employers.”

Searching daily for job leads, maintaining his professional network and, ultimately, patience helped Skinner find his new job. His current position is in a field he has worked in for years and allows him to continue working with people within his professional network.

“My current position is similar to my past employment, only better,” Skinner said. “I am now making more money in a similar industry as I was in for the last seven years, and I have a much better benefit package.”

“I would highly recommend job seekers participate in the CONNECT program,” Skinner said. “They will gain valuable insight into what employers are looking for, how to better prepare themselves for interviews, constructive critiques of their resumes and the ability to actually have brief interviews with companies that are hiring.”

Chip Skinner is 39, has lived in Gainesville for 20 years and has four children.

CONNECT meets every Monday from 5:45 – 7:30 p.m. and is hosted by a different business every month. Each week the meetings cover different professional insights on transition, and once a month HR recruiters conduct mini interviews for open positions in their organizations.

FloridaWorks has collaborated with the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce, the Society for Human Resource Management and the Florida Employers Advisory Council (FEAC) to form CONNECT, an organization designed to connect Gainesville’s professional-level job seekers with local employers and human resources recruiters.CONNECT is geared toward job seekers who have an associate degree or higher, or five or more years experience in an industry.

For additional information about CONNECT contact: Joe Johnson at 352.334.7105 ext. 311.