Gayle Sommer, Director, The Career PlaceGayle Sommer, Director, The Career Place, Massachusetts One-Stop Career Center and Greg Ames, Job Placement Specialist, Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission(MRC) spoke at the Waltham OFCCP compliance conference, September 11, 2013, hosted by America’s Job Exchange, on how their respective organization assists employers and helps veteran and disabled job seekers to be competitive and effect gainful employment.

Greg mentioned that the MRC could help people in all stages of their employment search.  Some candidates although employable, do not come being marketable as they do not have the needed skills.  The MRC looks at the individual and analyzes the needs and provides the skills training that candidates need in order to get employed.  They strive to make every attempt to help candidates find good career opportunities.  If a candidate needs to earn a Bachelor’s degree, the MRC can help the candidate achieve this goal, or retrain overqualified candidates to get that specific skill for a particular job.  Whatever the gaps in the candidate, the MRC can help fill them so that candidates, especially candidates with disabilities can be engaged in meaningful employment.

Gayle started by saying that she was representing all 31 career centers across the state of Massachusetts.  These career centers up to help people get back to work, providing necessary training and connecting potential employees with employers.  Now, most people who are looking for work use career centers.  They could be people who have been laid off, people who are employed but seeking to transition to another job in the same field, people wanting to make a career change or people who have been out of work for a while, like veterans for example.  Career Centers represents all occupations; supervisors, managers, teachers, nurses, consultants etc.  They provide help with resume development, interview skills and other kinds of support a potential employee might need.  On the employer side, they primarily work to fill hiring needs.  Sometimes, they also fill pipelines to meet future worker needs of companies within the next 1-3 years.  The Business Service Representatives (BSR), make qualified matches.  Career Centers offer job fairs on a regular basis.  They assist employers in promoting their companies and their job postings.  They encourage reps from companies to visit on site to interview job seekers.  Targeted recruitment is achieved by working with a Business Service Rep to fill one or two openings.  The BSR screens from the candidate pool and finds candidates. The Career Centers’ staff has “caseloads” so to speak, of targeted groups.  They look into resumes of these groups and can send a direct referral to employers.  Career Centers add marketing value to employers’ job postings.  They also have incentives for hiring special groups like veterans that could take the form of tax credits per hire or cash back to companies.  On the employee side, they maintain very close relationship with the job seekers and encourage them to seek out all avenues that connect them to employers.

Both Greg and Gayle encouraged employers not to overlook candidates with disabilities as well as give veterans a chance to contribute to the country’s economy.

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