‘Going Places’ at the library

First Posted: 9/12/2014

The Abington Community Library will soon act as a metaphorical train depot for women who are “going places” in the local workforce.

Dress For Success Lackawanna is bringing Walmart’s Going Places Network to the Abingtons with a free eight-week workshop series for unemployed and underemployed women of all ages and income groups. Beginning Sept. 18, the series will continue from 9:15 to 11:30 a.m. every Thursday in the library’s Ryon Room. Seating is limited and awarded on a first-come/first-served basis. Registration is required and can be made by calling 570-941-0339 or emailing Lackawannacountygpn@dressforsuccess.org.

“We really hope that women all over Northeast PA will avail themselves of this opportunity,” said Leah Rudolph, library director. “We think it’s a great opportunity to have this in our own backyard. I’m positive that there are things that someone who is unemployed or underemployed would be able to learn from this workshop.”

The program began in 2011, when Dress For Success Lackawanna was chosen by the Walmart Foundation as one of 60 affiliates to launch it. The organization has been running the program around the region since then, but this will be its first time in the Abingtons.

“We work very closely with the Abington Community Library,” said Breanne Joyce, Dress For Success Lackawana program coordinator. “They do a lot of drives for us, so we wanted to give back and kind of reach their women who are also searching for employment.”

Joyce described the workshop series as “an eight-week job preparedness program for unemployed and underemployed women who are transitioning back into the workforce.”

The sessions in the series build on the previous one and during the second half of every week’s program, career coaches will be available to interact with those in attendance.

A different local professional will speak on job search needs and opportunities each week. Ellen Stevens, community service director at the Voluntary Action Center in Scranton, will be featured on Sept. 18. Her presentation will cover the topic of “accessing community resources.”

Some of the other topics covered throughout the series are to include presenting your personal “brand” in interviews, customizing your resume for different positions, navigating LinkedIn and other social media for job leads and more.

“Here at Dress For Success, we see women daily who are searching for employment,” Joyce said. “We know that the economy is a little bit difficult these days, so there is a great need for women to get back out there into the workforce. That being said, our Going Places Network is our opportunity to take a small group of woman within the community and introduce them to professionals where they might not have had the opportunity to meet these professionals before.”

She said the program aims to help participants set career goals in which they aren’t simply accepting “any job,” but one that will ultimately lead to a sustainable career path for them and their families.

Women who attend the workshops, and those who are unable to attend but seeking assistance, can make use of the services offered by the organization.

“Any one-on-one counselling that our women need,” Joyce said, “whether it be on a specific topic, or in a specific industry or for a specific person, we have career coaches here at Dress For Success who can help our women navigate whatever professional development they might need beyond the workshop.”

The library also has many potentially helpful resources available, and Rudolph pointed out it’s the perfect location for the series.

“We have computers for people to go in to sites like Monster.com,” she said, “we have links to websites to apply for jobs — because a lot of times they want you to fill in a common online application, we have books on resume writing, we have printers, so if you don’t have a computer at home and you want to print out your resume, you can.”

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