A new model for employment creation
MADISON — The Urban League of Greater Madison (ULGM) is on to something big.
The Featured Employer Job Seminar series, launched in August, has been quickly embraced by the regional business community. Hosted at ULGM, each event is focused on bringing together one employer and job seekers for an informal, yet productive evening. The first Seminar, featuring the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD), drew almost 200 attendees and has already resulted in three hires, two of whom are teachers.
“We were thrilled with the turnout at our ULGM Job Seminar,” says June Glennon, MMSD’s Employment Manager. “This partnership presented us with a unique opportunity to draw new candidates for open positions, and it’s already paid off. We’re looking forward to meeting more people at our next ULGM seminar.”
During the seminars, the employer provides attendees with an overview of their organization and a more in-depth and personal introduction to the company than candidates can get from a web site or through traditional employment services. Job seekers can then ask questions and get details on the open positions. ULGM also opens its computer lab and has staff on hand to assist candidates in completing online application processes, and has interview rooms available for one-on-one conversations.
The Featured Employer Job Seminar series is designed to strengthen the partnership between communities of color and the area’s largest employers. Many companies in the region already participate in and support ULGM’s Workforce Readiness programs, as well as the annual Workplace Diversity & Leadership Summit. The importance of diversifying the workforce to growing and sustaining a strong economy is becoming more widely recognized, and was even identified by THRIVE, the region’s economic development organization, in their strategic plan. ULGM is partnering with THRIVE on this aspect of their Advance Now plan. The Featured Employer Job Seminar series is just one more solution that ULGM has brought forward as a leader on this effort.
“It isn’t about job creation,” states Mark Richardson, ULGM’s vice president of economic and workforce development. “It’s employment creation. The jobs are there, and the candidates are here. Our goal is to help employers tap into a workforce that’s trained, ready, and eager to fill these roles.”
A vital source of candidates is ULGM’s workforce academies, one of the area’s largest community-based resources for career development training and job placement for unemployed and underemployed adults. The core Foundations Work Readiness Academy comprises 100 hours of coaching and preparation of job skills, and ULGM’s industry-specific academies offer additional training in disciplines such as customer service, health care administration, food service, and construction.
The second event in the Featured Employer Seminar series featured Middleton-based American Girl looking to fill seasonal roles in its Middleton contact center and DeForest distribution center. “We are pleased to partner with ULGM to find great candidates,” says Lisa Grinde, Human Resources Manager for American Girl. “Within 24 hours of our seminar, we already had candidates following up to take the next step in our application process. Seeing that kind of initiative, we know we’ve connected with a motivated group of candidates that we might not otherwise have met.”
On October 10, ULGM will host Target Corporation for the next seminar in the series. Federal Express is also planning their ULGM Featured Employer Job Seminar for later this fall. All Featured Employer Seminar events are promoted on the ULGM web site, and anyone can sign up to receive email notifications at ulgm.org.
“We see momentum growing around this effort,“ states Richardson. “We are connecting pro-active employers with motivated job seekers in a new way – a way that can simplify the hiring process. Employers and job candidates leave with a better understanding of how to engage each other and communicate – and that is a win-win situation every time.”
Companies interested in being a Featured Employer should contact Mark Richardson at (608)729-1265 or firstname.lastname@example.org.