Faith Based & Neighborhood Partnerships


It was one year ago today – May 24, 2011 – when our office, the Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships at the U.S. Department of Labor launched the Job Clubs Initiative. We held a national webcast with Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training Jane Oates. A small group of job club leaders from across the country joined us here in Washington, DC to share information about the valuable work they are performing in their communities to get Americans back to work. Following the webcast, we issued a Training and Employment Notice to the workforce investment system encouraging partnerships with local job clubs and career ministries. Finally, we launched this Community of Practice as a resource for practitioners, volunteers, and individuals involved in and interested in job clubs.

Over the past year, there have been many highlights as our Job Clubs Initiative has grown and evolved:

-    We connected with more than 1,500 job clubs, career ministries, and networking groups. Check out the State Directory on the CoP to find a job club near you.


-    We held a number of regional symposia and training events across the country, where we developed new partnerships between job clubs and the workforce investment system. Check out the Job Club Events page on the CoP.


-    Secretary Solis visited several job clubs and met with their leaders and job seeker members. She mentioned the Job Clubs Initiative in her recent testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce. See the bottom of page 5 of the written testimony.


-    President Obama acknowledged the job clubs initiative at a recent event with clergy members and encouraged even more congregations to partner with our office to establish ministries.

Most of all, it has been an honor for our office to work with so many tireless and committed community leaders, many of whom are running their job clubs as volunteers, in their spare time, and on their own dime. We have witnessed first-hand the difference these groups are making in helping people in transition expand their networks, learn how to use LinkedIn and other networking and job search technologies, and overcome the emotional stresses associated with unemployment. And it has been truly inspiring to visit job club meetings and listen to the “victory laps” and success stories of members who have landed new jobs.

As we enter the second year of the initiative, we look forward to connecting with more job clubs and ministries, exploring new partnerships with programs such as AmeriCorps, and continuing to support job clubs in the important role they are playing in getting people back to work, one neighbor at a time.

So, here’s a hearty thank you from our office to all of our partners over the past year and an invitation to everyone to collaborate with us in the coming year.

Practice Makes Perfect At Job Club Interview Day
By: Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program Inc. (EKCEP)

One of the most important steps in getting a job is doing well in the job interview, yet most people go to job interviews without having any practice or informed preparation. Job Clubs of Eastern Kentucky give their members the advantage of being well rehearsed.

Throughout eastern Kentucky, job clubs give their members a chance to learn and polish their job-interviewing skills by providing a “mock interview day,” like the one held recently in Paintsville.  Setting up practice interviews is one of the many ways job clubs are helping hundreds of eastern Kentucky job seekers improve their odds of getting a job.

At the recent mock interview day, members of the Johnson County Job Club got to practice a telephone interview, a face-to-face interview, and a three-person panel interview, with job club staff playing the role of the employers. The mock interviews were conducted as much like actual job interviews as possible.

After the interviews, each member’s performance was graded by the staff. Then each member got to meet individually with a job club career advisor to talk about the things they did well, the things they did poorly, and ways they can improve.

A job club is a group of job seekers who meet weekly to learn new job search skills, exchange job leads and information, network, and support each other during their job search. The Johnson County Job Club meets every Tuesday at 11 a.m. in the Johnson County Public Library in Paintsville. It is free service sponsored by the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program, Inc. (EKCEP), the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training (OET), and the Big Sandy Area Community Action (BSACAP).

The sponsors’ expertise and contacts help provide the club members with information, job search skills, weekly job leads, networking opportunities, and chances to meet with and learn from local employers.

Calvin Lawson of Harold said the recent mock interview day was a big help.

“They gave me some great feedback and constructive criticism,” Calvin said.

Calvin said he learned that he has enough education and experience to be attractive to employers, but he needs to be more confident during a job interview in order to effectively sell himself to an employer.

“Job club has helped me a lot,” Calvin said.

James M. Porter, 66, made a point of getting to the job club for interview day despite the difficulties caused by power outages and severe tornado damage in his hometown of West Liberty.  James had a long career as a teacher and says he would now like to find a job as middle school tutor.

Although he has been on many job interviews before, James said he still was able to learn from the mock interview day. One of the new ideas he picked up was the importance of creating a “personal brand” to sell himself and his abilities to an employer.

“I thought it was very helpful,” James said.

Sandy Grimm, facilitator of the Johnson County Job Club, said the club members appreciate being able to make their mistakes and improve their performance in practice interviews, rather than in a real interview with a real job on the line.

“Each person said they were so glad that this allowed them to hear the feedback so they could learn from mistakes that were made. They told me that when they interview with an employer they normally just hear that they didn't get the job and do not ever know the reason why. So they are grateful for the chance to experience and receive this information on how to improve their interview skills,” Sandy said.

To contact the Johnson County Job Club call 789-2857. To find out more about Job Clubs of Eastern Kentucky or to find the job club nearest you, call 1-877-512-WORK. Find Job Clubs of Eastern Kentucky on Facebook at


This blog has been cross-posted on the EKCEP Blog:

Guest Blog: Resume Writing Tips To Stand Out From The Crowd

by Todd Goldstein

 Customize your resume for the job. As recruiters and HR consultants, we can’t stress enough the importance of tailoring each resume for the job you are applying to.

 For example, If you are applying for an Executive Assistant position and have held marketing positions in the last two years, but before that were an EA – consider making a profile summary that speaks more to your EA experience, to offset your least relevant experience

 If you are applying to be a principal of a school, but your experience has been mostly in teaching, make sure you add “buzzwords” to your resume that speaks to skills, qualities, and knowledge you will need as a principal.

 This way, your resume is tailored effectively while still being truthful.

 Keep your resume short. Brevity is important. Not everyone needs to squeeze his or her experience into one page. In fact, doing that can be counterproductive and give the impression of being a more junior candidate than you actually are.

 But, particularly if you are in the marketing or the scientific field, you may feel compelled to have your resume contain everything that you have done. Not only is it not required - but actually, the hiring manager will not look at everything.

 Write your resume with everything that you have done, and then let it sit. Come back to it with a fresh set of eyes. What stands out to you? What do you gloss over without reading? Examine the less compelling points and ask yourself – do these really need to be here?

 Presentation. Your resume must be readable, or no one will read it! Use a format that stands out, but is clean. Do not let the resume get too busy, or it will be put at the bottom of the pile. Use a format that is eye-catching, but not too formulaic. Select an easy to read, professional font, such as Times New Roman, size 12.


 Todd Goldstein is Co-Founder of Prior to launching Resume2Hire, Todd started several niche job boards including AccountingJobsToday. Prior to entering the online recruitment world, he ran his own staffing firm in Los Angeles, CA.