Workforce consultant Robin Hollis answers questions about what Idaho Department of Labor consultants do and how they help Idaho job seekers find work:
What does an Idaho Department of Labor workforce consultant do?
Some workforce consultants also help customers with unemployment insurance (UI) or programs that will make them more employable.
My main focus is serving as a Youth Case Manager. I work with at-risk youth between the ages of 16-21, help young people earn their GEDs or mentor and help them determine what career they want to pursue.
We also show people how to use the tools the Department of Labor has to offer such as Idaho’s Career Information System, Labor Market Information (wages and statistics) and all of the available agency website resources.
Being a case manger also requires public speaking, meeting with local businesses, schools and colleges and local agencies such as police, fire, corrections and city and county governments.
I also work the lobby front desk where we help customers who come in to schedule for the various workshops, such as Resume writing 1.0 and 2.0, Veteran Orientation, Job Search and Using Your Age to Your Advantage.
Sometimes we point customers toward outside resources that may be available or appropriate for their needs: public housing contacts, Health & Welfare, medical assistance, vocational rehab, etc.
What kind of questions do you get from job seekers?
“How can I make my resume look better?” and “How do I search for jobs?”
What general tips do you can share with job seekers?
• Treat your job search like a job.
• Stay organized.
• Dedicate your time to looking for work.
• Apply for jobs you’re capable of and qualified to do.
• Don’t get discouraged if you don’t land a specific job; that means something better is coming.
• Use the resources available to you from your local Labor office.
• Rehearse your interview answers.
• Look up common interview questions online. (Don’t be afraid to “Tell me a little about yourself.” Now’s your chance to step up on the soap box and sell yourself confidently but not arrogantly.)
• The more you practice, the more comfortable you will get with interviews.
• NETWORK! Talk to everyone you meet. Tell them you are looking for work. Ask them if they know of anything open.
• Never burn a bridge, stay positive.
• After interviews, follow up with a simple thank you letter.
Give us an example of something you did for a job seeker that really helped them in a big way?
With every job seeker or customer, my goal is to provide the best customer service possible. But I would have to say one of the most memorable job seekers was a young man from northern Idaho who had been in a four-wheeler accident leaving him paralyzed from the waist down.
We met when he was still in high school. He had dreams of becoming an Idaho Fish and Game Conservation Officer. He was determined to overcome his new life challenge.
I encouraged him to donate his time to Fish and Game doing anything they would allow him to do. He did! He volunteered at fish check stations, big game check stations, hunter safety classes and bow hunter safety classes — anything he could volunteer for he was there front and center. Not only was he volunteering his time, but he was an inspiration to all those he encountered.
I made contact with the regional office of the Fish and Game Department and described this young man’s skills, abilities and desire to work for their agency. I also explained his accident and his disability.
The regional office said they may have a position for him. I was so eager to call this job seeker and tell him the exciting news that I raced back from the regional F&G office to call him. He was ecstatic!
He was due to start working days after graduation. Because of his accident, he was graduating a year late and thrilled to have all that behind him. The week before graduation, I received a call from his mother stating he had fallen ill and was in the hospital for surgery. She expressed his only concern in this entire illness was if he could still work for Fish and Game.
Keep in mind this young man was now not able to participate in his graduation ceremony and now may lose this opportunity to fulfill his dreams. I placed a call to the regional office, explained the situation and asked if there was any way he could start at a later date.
The Idaho Fish and Game office was willing to extend the offer until he recovered. I again, was super excited to call the job seeker at his hospital bed and tell him to rest comfortable and recover solid because they were willing to wait.
This young man went to work for Idaho Fish and Game at the fish count check stations, counting the salmon and steelhead that come through and again at boat launch locations checking fishing licenses and fish counts for the Salmon and Steelhead seasons. The opportunity he was provided to pursue his dream was accomplished and he is now looking forward to attending college and working for Idaho Fish and Game as a seasonal employee.
How do job seekers set up a meeting with a workforce consultant? Does it cost anything?
A job seeker can call any local Labor office or come in and request to speak to or schedule an appointment with an employment services workforce consultant. IT IS FREE! That’s what we are here for: to help job seekers with their questions and provide the guidance they need to gain employment!
Anything you can add?
I also encourage everyone to visit the Idaho Department of Labor website.
Take a look at all of the resources available and see we are not just the unemployment office. Our agency offers so much more.