“If everyone who entered the Employment Immersion Program had the drive and determination that Robert Steinberg possesses, every one of them would be employed.” says LightHouse Employment Immersion Program Leader Kate Williams. Like many people who have been impacted by the economic recession, Robert experienced several years of unemployment before landing his new Customer Service Representativeposition with Chevron in Oakland. Unemployed for a year after a layoff, Robert worked with Department of Rehabilitation counselor Mark Pighin and found his way to the Employment Immersion Program.
With a strong background in banking, computers and customer service, Robert had the skills to land a job. He told us the Employment Immersion Program helped him ramp up his job search techniques considerably: “The Employment Immersion Program is quite unique. It’s the best jobs program I’ve tried. The program gives you the skills and training you need to be self-sufficient in your job search. It’s a very detailed and efficient program with ongoing support after graduation.”
Interviewing was an area where Robert felt he needed some support and training. He notes the “mock interviews were very helpful. The interviews were conducted by employees from corporations who volunteered to help us practice performing in a realistic interview setting – extremely helpful. The volunteers give you feedback on your strengths and weaknesses, and the things they were looking for that you did not address.” Robert says he learned how to be more definite in his responses as well as more confident. “I think the most useful thing I learned was not to be surprised by anything in an interview. I felt prepared for any type of question.”
When the Customer Service Representative position at Chevron Credit Union was posted, Robert was ready. He applied and got a phone interview. The next step was a computer test. That’s when the process hit a revealing obstacle: Robert could not take the test without adaptations. Robert says, “I felt some discrimination at some companies during my job search. But it was clear from the beginning that Chevron Credit Union staff was committed. They worked through the process to figure out how to set up an adaptive process. They asked me what kind of software I needed to do my job. Given this level of support and commitment, Robert says he’s feeling very good about working with the company. “I’m excited that I will be able to try out other departments and shadow jobs and see what appeals to me as well. There’s a lot of support and mobility within the company.”
Kate Williams was not surprised at Robert’s success: “Robert is one of those people who are consistently pleasant, consistently engaged, an asset to the class. Through our program, he learned how to build a powerful and descriptive resume, how to craft a compelling cover letter and most importantly, how to tailor the letter to the employer’s needs. He also learned a good deal about the importance of following up after applying for a job and an interview.”
Robert’s advice for job seekers out there is simple. “Sometimes it gets depressing and frustrating, but keep going. I highly recommend the LightHouse Employment Immersion Program. They really helped with the interview and application process and with emotional support. After graduation, they continue to follow up, which is extremely helpful, and Kate is wonderful!”
Looking for work for the first time? Is it time for you to re-enter the job market? For more information about our Employment Immersion Program, please contact Kate Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org or 415-694-324.