Human Interest

Not having a job can be one of the most stressful problems for any adult.

But according to Dave Meyers at the Job Connection inside of Goodwill in Sedona, it’s an employee’s market.

Meyers and the rest of the staff at the employment services center have a goal to end unemployment. Though that may not ever truly happen, they have a goal of placing 45,000 people in jobs this year in five counties in Arizona, including in Sedona as well as the Phoenix area.

Goodwill recently relaunched its job centers and Sedona’s was the first to reopen in the Verde Valley, with the other, Cottonwood, not far behind. The staff holds job fairs and provides other services to both employee and employer. Meyers stressed that it is not a hand-out they were offering.

“We want potential employees to feel it’s their work, their time they put in,” he said.

As Meyers organizes job fairs, he said he’s noticed the complaint that’s becoming more common in the service industry: There are jobs, but no one is taking them.

“It’s a hard area to employ,” he said.

On top of raised wages, Meyers said employers have told him they are trying more creative ways to bring in talent. From child care to transportation, many of the hurdles that keep people — many of whom do not live in Sedona — from commuting in.

The Job Connection does not just cater to the service industry, though. Career advisor Melissa Koel said she has seen jobs range from minimum wage labor positions to skilled work requiring certifications, such as working with schools or heavy machinery.

One of the problems in this area for prospective employees is catching up to current standards, Meyers said. Where before simply walking into an employer with resume in hand was good enough, now many require even those who show up in person to apply online.

Meyers and company aid in this process, as well as customizing resumes so that they are not automatically screened out by a program — another process that isn’t familiar to many returning to the workforce.

Transition can also be a challenge. Koel recalled a man who had injured his shoulder and could no longer work in his field of construction. Koel followed up with him after going over his prospects and was delighted to hear that he had gotten a job at a grocery store. Job fairs are held with multiple employers or one.

Koel said when she worked in Prescott the fairs could be as often as four times a week.

The services provided to employer and employee are free. They are funded through the retail side of Goodwill, with 90 cents of every dollar going into funds for the workforce aid, as well as donations made at the register.

The Job Connection is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday and is located in the Bashas’ shopping center in the Goodwill store. The shopping center is off Coffee Pot Road and State Route 89A. Call 282-0838 for more information.


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