Chicago Career Transitions Center works to reboot laid-off workers' careers

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Due to the COVID-19 crisis, tens of thousands of careers in Illinois have been cut short. In our Ready to Work series, we're highlighting one Chicago non-profit working to get people laid off mid-career back into the workforce.

"You don't have to convince the entire world of your great value, you only need to convince one person. And that's the hiring manager," job seeker Richard Janda said.

For more than 20 years, Janda worked in finance. Now, he's out of work and searching.

"If you're getting two or three responses from 10 or 20 attempts at trying to reach people, those are pretty good results," Janda said.

RELATED: Chicago area jobs hiring amid COVID-19 pandemic

But he connected with Chicago not-for-profit Career Transitions Center, and one of their volunteer coaches, Tim Conway. Conway works to keep Richard and others on track in their search.

Now coaching sessions and peer groups are all virtual.

"I help them set goals, weekly goals, for the number of phone calls they are going to make, the number of informational interviews that they'll schedule, and hopefully the number of job offers," Conway said.

Career Transitions Center works specifically with people whose careers have been cut off midway, new college grads, or those who are furloughed or under employed.

They connect them with a career coach, and work to connect them with new opportunities through their online network of hundreds.
"I find that for people who are home in isolation, a day becomes a week, becomes a month," said Career Transitions Center Executive Director Anita Jenke.

"These are the kinds of things that help you feel that you're building towards your ultimate goal, the ability to check off and say I have accomplished some things," she said.

Help and advice are just a Zoom call away.

"Be persistent," Janda said. "Keep hacking away at it and with time and patience, you'll be successful."

There are free resource guides for the city and suburbs on the Career Transitions Center website.

There is a fee for one-on-one coaching, but Jenke says there are scholarships available to help defray the cost.
Copyright © 2020 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.