#InclusionWorks: Celebrating Diversity in the Workplace

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), a time to focus on the value that workers with disabilities bring to the workplace. With nearly 20% of the working age population represented by people with disabilities (think one in five), employing workers with disabilities is a timely and important topic to the workforce development community.

National Disability Employment Awareness Month Poster

Disability employment is an important facet of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), as explored in Section 188, which was originally enacted with Workforce Investment Act (WIA) in 1998 and continues to apply to the updated WIOA legislation of 2015. Section 188 seeks to prevent discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or political affiliation or belief.

To assist American Job Centers with understanding and applying inclusionary practices, the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) developed “Promising Practices in Achieving Universal Access and Equal Opportunity: A Section 188 Disability Reference Guide.” Other resources, like The Disability and Employment Community of Practice, educate employers and workforce staff on providing services and programs to people with disabilities.

To celebrate and promote awareness of NDEAM, we’ve prepared a quick list of Do’s and Don’ts for making your workplace or American Job Center more inclusive:

Do…

  • Test your website, online applications, recruitment material, and social media content for accessibility. (See Section 508 for detailed info on accessibility standards.) The America’s JobLink system is routinely tested for accessibility using the SSB BART Group’s Accessibility Management Platform (AMP). AMP is a web-based solution for meeting Section 508, Americans with Disabilities (ADA), WCAG, and other compliance needs.
  • Provide accommodations for public spaces and events, such as considering the height of display tables, offering a variety of publication formats, or being prepared with assistive technology.
  • Participate in internship, mentorship, and hiring programs for students and recent grads with disabilities.
  • Consider the needs of employees with disabilities when developing emergency management plans.

Don’t…

Have something to add to the list? Let us know in the comments.

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List Lovers: Discover the Bullet Journal for Work

I have a problem. Some might term it an addiction. I love lists. I need lists. I have lists for everything; I have lists of new lists to make. I have whole notebooks dedicated to my lists. And recently, I’ve found I’m not alone. Buzzfeed, Reddit, and Instagram have been populating the internet with images of lists, in the name of a new trend: Bullet Journaling.

Bullet Journaling is a style of tracking your life in a notebook. The term and the system was designed by Ryder Carroll, a digital product designer from Austria. Carroll struggled with focusing and needed a way to capture his ideas, so he developed this system. He has described the system as

“For the list-makers, the note-takers, the Post-It note pilots, the track-keepers, and the dabbling doodlers. Bullet Journal is for those who feel there are few platforms as powerful as the blank paper page. It’s an analog system for the digital age that will help you organize the present, record the past, and plan for the future.”Bullet Journal

So what does this have to do with the workforce? Bullet Journaling is not limited to tracking grocery lists or birthdays; job seekers, students, and employees can use a daily journal to visually track progress toward career or educational goals with lists such as:

  • To Do: Note the tasks that require your attention. Make use of the Bullet Journal symbols to track whether the tasks have been completed, migrated to another list, or scheduled.
  • Kudos: Track the compliments you receive on your work. Whether you are an employee with a yearly review coming up or a job seeker interviewing for a new job, you can pull out this list as evidence of the work you’ve done well.
  • Lessons Learned: Write down something you’ve learned that day or week, whether it is a new skill or a reflection.
  • Accomplishments: Record projects that have been completed or goals that have been reached. If possible, write down the outcome.
  • Progress: Break down projects or goals into manageable tasks, and track when each phase is completed.
  • Duties: Divide responsibilities into daily, weekly, and monthly tasks.

Communities have sprung up around the Bullet Journal trend, and among them are the Bullet Journal Professionals. Wondering why you should keep your own Bullet Journal as a workforce professional? Don’t worry; there’s a list for that.

The Benefits of Using a Bullet Journal at Work:

  • Organize and prioritize your responsibilities in one place.
  • Document growth and success in your career for reviews and raises.
  • Refer to the lists when building your portfolio or LinkedIn profile.
  • Record the ideas and plans that usually get lost in the shuffle.
  • Feel a sense of accomplishment from checking off completed tasks and projects.
  • Reflect on successes and missed opportunities.

If you’re a case manager in an American Job Center, consider sharing the benefits of Bullet Journaling with your clients. Maybe you could even offer a “Bullet Journaling for Your Job Search” workshop! If you keep your own Bullet Journal or something similar, be sure to comment and/or post images below. You can also check out our Bullet Journaling at Work board on Pinterest for inspiration.

Celebrating the American Workforce

You know it as a day off—a day to relax, probably grill out, maybe take a short road trip or save money on appliances or back-to-school sales. But Labor Day—the first Monday in September—celebrates the accomplishments of American industry. Labor Day became a federal holiday in 1894, a time when the impact of the Industrial Revolution was manifesting itself in labor strikes and rallies—workers coming together to demand safer and more humane working conditions with better pay. The late 19th century and early 20th century was a crucial time for establishing laws that regulated labor—from banning child labor to restricting the number of hours in a work day. (Read more about the history of Labor Day and the labor movement here and here.)

Labor Day Graphic

While conditions for American workers have drastically improved since the 1894, the U.S. Department of Labor is still working toward “building a shared prosperity for a stronger America”, focusing on the following topics:

  • A fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work: Increasing the national minimum wage and providing overtime protection;
  • Providing a path to get ahead: Providing education and training for middle-class employment;
  • A job with family values: Balancing work­–home life;
  • A chance to succeed no matter where you start: Helping underserved, at-risk, and recently incarcerated individuals find employment; and
  • A voice in the workplace: Empowering workers to speak up about their needs.

So this Monday, while you’re enjoying the national holiday, think about how far we’ve come as a nation of workers, and look ahead to an even stronger workforce that celebrates equality and American values.

Thank You for Your Public Service

Public Service Recognition Week

The first week of May is Public Service Recognition Week, honoring those who work as government employees on the federal, state, county, and local levels. The event has been hosted by the Public Employees Roundtable since 1985, with the purpose of promoting government careers, educating Americans about the importance of public servants, and recognizing outstanding public service (About Us). In proclaiming the celebration of this week, President Barack Obama reminds us that “At the birth of our Nation, our Founders fought to secure a democracy that represents the people, and the civil servants who pour everything they have into making a difference are the individuals who keep that democracy running smoothly and effectively.”

So this week we would like to say thank you to all of our readers who are serving the public, especially those in the workforce industry who work daily to connect job seekers to employers and training providers.

If you’d like to recognize someone in your organization as an outstanding public service employee, we’d love to read about that person in the comments. You can also send a story to be featured in the Faces of Government profiles by emailing publicemployeesroundtable@gmail.com.

Viva La Volunteering: The Benefits of Service for the Workforce

Perhaps you saw the recent video of the 106-year-old Virginia McLaurin breaking out her dance moves when she met President and Mrs. Obama at a Black History Month event. Two weeks later, on the eve of her 107th birthday, Virginia was awarded the President’s Volunteer Service Award for Lifetime Achievement in honor of her 23 years of service in the Senior Corps Foster Grandparent program. Virginia is just one of the 62.6 million Americans who volunteer (Bureau of Labor Statistics), and one week in April is set aside to appreciate these volunteers and encourage further service in communities.

National Volunteer Week

This Monday, April 10, 2016, kicks off National Volunteer Week, which was first established by Richard Nixon in 1974. In his proclamation today, President Barack Obama reminds us that “People of all ages can volunteer, and anyone can, through the smallest of acts, do their part to improve the lives of others.”

Volunteering has numerous benefits—including improving health, reducing stress, increasing cultural and social awareness, and building community (UC San Diego)—and further benefits extend to the workplace, both for those seeking employment and for those already employed.

Job seekers can improve their chances of being hired by volunteering. According to a study by the Corporation for National & Community Service, “Volunteers have a 27 percent higher likelihood of finding a job after being out of work than non-volunteers” (“Volunteering as a Pathway”). But how exactly does volunteering help job seekers? Benefits include opportunities to:

  • Gain professional experience. Does the job you want require specific experience you lack? Find a volunteer position where you can gain the experience you need.
  • Explore career options. Wonder what it would be like to be a nurse or a veterinarian? Volunteer at a hospital or vet clinic to experience the responsibilities before committing to a specific education or career path.
  • Make connections. Is the volunteer section in your LinkedIn account blank? Volunteering not only supplements your professional profile but also can lead to networking opportunities.
  • Build skill sets. “Can you give us an example of when you worked well as part of a team?” If you’re a volunteer, there’s a good chance you can provide answers to many common interview questions by drawing on your volunteer experiences.

Employers can also create a more positive workplace and attract and retain talent by providing volunteer opportunities. Reports indicate employees want to work for companies that are invested in communities and these employees are often eager to contribute their time (Ford). Volunteer programs in the workplace offer chances to:

  • Create camaraderie. Have team-building games fallen flat? Instead of awkward icebreakers, consider scheduling an afternoon volunteering as an office—employees will get to know each other while working together toward a tangible outcome.
  • Increase employee satisfaction. Do your employees find value in their work? Employees have a 33% higher satisfaction rate when they see their job as making a positive social and environmental impact (Net Impact). More satisfied employees leads to higher productivity, profitability, quality, and customer loyalty and reduced turnover (FrontStream).
  • Recruit and retain employees. Are you offering the most comprehensive opportunities to applicants? Job seekers, and in particular, Millennials, who are the incoming generation of workers, often consider a company’s volunteering opportunities when choosing a place to work. 79% of people want to work for a company that is socially responsible (Ford).
  • Strengthen company reputation. Have people ever heard of your company? A volunteer program increases your visibility in the community, which builds trust and loyalty in current and future customers.

So this week, and any week, we encourage you to volunteer. If you already volunteer or have a story of how volunteering has affected your personal or professional life, please share in the comments—we’d love to hear it.

What’s New With 13.2: Self-Service Searches

Over January and February, all AJLA–TS-hosted states transitioned to the 13.2 update of America’s JobLink (AJL). The biggest changes with this release are redesigned job and resume searches. In this #FridayFAQ post, we’ll answer some of the most common questions about the new searches from the perspective of self-service users (job seekers and employers). Stay tuned for Part 2, What’s New With 13.2: Staff Searches, which will address the updates to searches for workforce staff.

Q: What’s “new and improved” about the job and resume searches?

A:  The new searches have been completely redesigned to make them more flexible and easier to use, while providing more relevant job and resume matches. Here are a few of the most major improvements:

  • You can make your search as simple or detailed as you want, all from the same search page. Do a basic keyword and location search using the What, Where, and Within boxes, or choose from a wide variety of filters in the Refine Search menu.
  • The search filters and results are on the same page, so you can see immediately how your results are affected when you add or remove a filter.
  • Nobody likes to get zero results. The number next to each filter tells you how many results you’ll get if you click that filter. A filter will only display for selection if there are results available.

Job Seeker Searches

Q: How do I search for jobs if I don’t have a job seeker account?

A: Don’t worry! You don’t need an account to search for jobs. Just type your keyword(s) in the Search box at the top of the AJL home page and click the magnifying glass. Your results will display, along with our great new filters for further narrowing your search. You can view basic job information including the job description. However, without logging in, you won’t be able to see the complete details of the job or the instructions for how to apply.

screencap1

Q: How do I search for jobs when logged into my account?

A: Once logged in, on your home page, click Job Search. The Job Search page displays with all active (open) jobs currently in the system. Enter your desired criteria in the What, Where, and Within boxes, and if you like, select additional filters on the Refine Search menu. To view the job details, click the blue job title link.

Q: How are my search results sorted?

A: Search results are sorted by relevance (best match). This means that the results most closely matching your search criteria will display first. When searching by keyword(s), any jobs that have your keywords in the job title or occupation title will display at the top of the results. Below that will display jobs containing your keywords anywhere in the job order. If you aren’t satisfied with your results, try editing your keywords in the What box.

Q: How can I see the newest job orders?

A: You can see the most recently posted (newest) jobs by using the “Date Posted” filter in the Refine Search menu. Keep in mind that the newest jobs may not be the most relevant to your other search criteria.

Q: Are jobs from all websites included in my results, or just America’s JobLink (internal) jobs?

A: When no filters are selected, the results show all jobs in the system (both internal and external jobs). “Internal” jobs are jobs entered manually into AJL by employers or workforce center staff. “External” jobs are jobs imported from other sources, such as civil service jobs, jobs from large employers, and jobs from the National Labor Exchange/JobCentral. You can click the “Internal” or “External” filter under “Source” to limit your results to only internal or external jobs. Indeed.com jobs are now separate. To view indeed.com jobs, click the “Search Other Job Banks” link at the top right of the job search page. Clicking a job title link in your indeed.com search results takes you to the source website. Note that AJL is not responsible for the accuracy or legitimacy of jobs from other websites.

Q: How do I search for jobs from my resume?

A: Once logged in, on your home page, click My Resumes. On your My Resumes page, next to the resume you want to search by, click View Options. Click Search for matching jobs. On the Job Search page, the What box is pre-filled with the occupation phrase from your resume as a starting point for your search. Your results are sorted by relevance (best match) based on the occupation phrase. Add additional search criteria or filters as desired. If you aren’t satisfied with your results, try editing your keywords (occupation phrase) in the What box. Shorter phrases often provide better matches; for example, “Janitor” may provide better matches than “Janitors and Cleaners, Except Maids and Housekeeping Cleaners.”

Employer Searches

Q: How do I search for resumes if I don’t have an employer account?

A: Don’t worry! You don’t need an account to search for resumes. At the top of the AJL home page, click Resumes in the drop-down list next to the Search box. Type your keyword(s) in the Search box and click the magnifying glass. Your results will display, along with our great new filters for further narrowing your search. You can view resume titles, the last updated date, and a portion of the job seeker’s objective statement or summary of qualifications. However, without logging in, you won’t be able to view the job seeker’s resume or contact information.

screencap2

Q: How do I perform a resume search when logged into my account?

A: Once logged in, on your home page, click Resume Search. The Resume Search page displays with all active resumes currently in the system. Enter your desired criteria in the What, Where, and Within boxes, and if you like, select additional filters on the Refine Search menu. To view the resume details, click the blue resume title link.

Q: How are my search results sorted?

A: Search results are sorted by relevance (best match). This means that the results most closely matching your search criteria will display first. When searching by keyword(s), any resumes that have your keywords in the resume title or occupation title will display at the top of the results. Below that will display resumes containing your keywords anywhere in the resume. If you aren’t satisfied with your results, try editing your keywords in the What box.

Q: What do the symbols mean next to the resume titles?

A: Icons display for veteran job seekers (U.S. flag) and job seekers with Career Readiness Certificates if used by your state (Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum). The legend for these icons is at the bottom of the Resume Search page. To filter Resume Search results to display only veterans, click Yes under “Veteran” on the Refine Search menu.

Q: How do I search for resumes from a job order?

A: Once logged in, on your home page, click My Job Postings. Locate the job you want to search by in your job lists and click Search Resumes. On the Resume Search page, the What box is pre-filled with the occupation phrase from your job order as a starting point for your search. Your results are sorted by relevance (best match) based on the occupation phrase. Add additional search criteria or filters as desired. If you aren’t satisfied with your results, try editing your keywords (occupation phrase) in the What box. Shorter phrases often provide better matches; for example, “Janitor” may provide better matches than “Janitors and Cleaners, Except Maids and Housekeeping Cleaners.”

Q: When searching for resumes by a job order, what does “Review Status” in the resume results mean?

A: When searching for resumes from a job order, employers now have the ability to set the review status at the top of the Resume Details page. This allows employers to keep track of which resumes they’ve already reviewed and the outcome (such as “Interviewed” or “Skills Gap – Not Qualified”). Once you’ve set the review status for a resume, the status will display for that resume in your search results.

Q: I have more questions. Who can I ask for more help?

A: If you have other questions about the new searches, leave a comment on this blog post or contact your local workforce center by clicking Contact Us at the top right of the AJL home page. If you’re a workforce professional, look for the upcoming post on New Search FAQs for Staff. Change can be hard, but with a little getting used to we feel these improvements will greatly enhance your job search or recruitment efforts.