Following the lead of Mother Veronica, who reached out to the immigrant children on the streets of Manhattan, and taking seriously Vatican II’s challenge to listen to the “signs of the times,” when the economic downturn began, Sister Pat Sheridan and the other staff members of the RDC Counseling Center decided to offer a free 6-session workshop called “Employment Networking/ Support Group.”
Pat Sheridan, RDC, Director of the Center, conducts the Employment Groups three times a year. Each group differs according to the people who join. Some are newly unemployed; others have been searching for long months, while a few are preparing themselves in case their positions are cut or are looking for more satisfying work.
In response to the needs and requests of participants, Pat invites consultants to address skills and techniques for getting a job. This year, consultants will focus on interviewing, resume writing, using the Internet for job searches, stress reduction practices, and using local business publications as a resource. The consultants range from Board members to employees of the congregation. Pat also stays alert for programs offered by neighborhood institutions, such as one on using social media like LinkedIn to enhance a job search.
Pat says that the best part of each group is the energy that emerges among the participants. Besides the moral support of knowing others who are in similar situations, participants offer each other their own experiences and lots of encouragement to try new approaches to work, like taking contract work while continuing to search for full-time employment. They also offer suggestions of contacts and other job-related information. Through their own email group, participants can form bonds and encourage each other between the meetings.
While the purpose of the groups is not to find jobs for participants, but to give them information and confidence to face the difficult job market, many of the participants do succeed in finding employment. One woman even had to drop out because she had found a position.
The RDC Center also offers counseling services for individuals – adults, teens and children – couples and families, as well as educational testing and special programs like the bi-lingual mother-daughter program. The Center is located on the Good Counsel Campus at 52 North Broadway, White Plains, NY. Visit the website RDC Center.