With the current unemployment rate for New York State teetering between eight and nine percent, recent graduates of the ECNY Job Search Boot Camp Program at the Port Washington Public Library are defying the odds and gaining employment at a remarkable rate.
Presented by Maria Themistocleous-Frey, President and Founder of Executive Consultants of New York, Corp., and creator of the Job Search Boot Camp®, and Maria Duchin, Career Strategist at Executive Consultants of New York, Corp. and in coordination with the Port Washington Public Library Career and Personal Finance Center led by Research Librarian Denise Anchico, the program boasts an average employment attainment rate of 36 percent.
Established in 2010, ECNY Job Search Boot Camp found its way to the library in 2012. Although boot camp is offered at other locations throughout Long Island, Port Washington is the only library that offers it. Originally funded by former New York State Assemblywoman Michelle E. Schimel and former New York State Assemblyman Anthony D’Urso, the program now sustains itself with grants from the Greentree Foundation and generous support from the Port Washington Public Library.
The eight-week program, now running virtually, is open initially to Port Washington and Town of North Hempstead residents, and eventually opens up to nonresidents, helps up to 40 participants learn how to conduct an effective job search, develop objectives and personal branding, improve their resume and cover letters and perfect the ideal elevator pitch.
Leonie B., a former pharmaceutical salesperson, recently completed the course in December, “[The instructors] showed that they cared about the attendees and were very supportive if we needed them out of the scheduled class times. They were also very patient and resourceful.”
Upon completion of the Fall 2020 ECNY Job Search Boot Camp Program, 73 percent of the participants were actively interviewing and the class generated a cumulative 94 interviews throughout the sessions. In an environment teeming with social distancing, face coverings and an ever-present awareness of the COVID-19 virus, the number of interviews (both in-person and virtual) booked among the students within two weeks after Boot Camp increased to 121.
“Every single month we have a Boot Camp alumni meeting,” Themistocleous-Frey said. “It’s a wonderful networking opportunity and we often invite companies who are hiring or we’ll teach a class. Before the pandemic we had an in-person “glamshots” alumni event with professional photographers and makeup artists for LinkedIn headshots. So many Boot Campers have gotten jobs because of other former Boot Campers and that’s really a big reason as to why we do this.”
“Being out of work for a while and in career transition is hard enough, during the pandemic it was and is, incredibly challenging,” Yvonne B., another December Bootcamp attendee said. “Having the weekly meetings was a huge help in keeping me connected and on track with my job search.”
The Spring 2021 ECNY Job Search Boot Camp® on Zoom will take place Mondays, March 8, 15, 22, 29 and April 5, 12, 19, 26, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Registration began on Feb. 23 for Port Washington and TONH Residents. Registration for all others begins on March 2 at 10 a.m. Preference will be given to first time registrants. Visit www.PWPL.org/events for more information and to sign up.
—Submitted by the Port Washington Public Library