Non-profit employment office sees spike in clients

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Justice Jobs of Maryland typically serves between 8-to-10 clients. Recently, that number has jumped to 19 and staff predict even more.

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FREDERICK, Md. (WDVM) — In a meeting room at the Federated Charities building in Frederick, Bob Clegg and Richard Baer got their first chance in a long time to meet in-person. 

“During this virus, me and him have conversations on the phone for hours,” Baer explained. 

 Hour-long phone calls and video chat meetings have become a new normal over the past two months for Clegg, who leads Justice Jobs of Maryland as executive director.

The non-profit supports those jumping back into the workforce after a gap in employment.  The Applicant Training Programs leads a group of clients through workshops on interview skills, conflict management and resume-building. 

“We stopped doing our workshops, which prepared applicants for interviews. Instead, we’ve tried to roll as much of that information about how to do an interview and answer questions and how to do a good perfect pitch over the phone instead of in person,” Clegg explained. 

At any given time, the non-profit typically serves between 8 to 10 different clients. But in the last couple of weeks, that number has jumped as high as 19.

Clegg predicts the demand will continue to rise as through the COVID-19 pandemic, and if so, more volunteers are needed.

With the current set of volunteers, Clegg explains, clients are able to meet with staff about once or twice a week. Ideally, meetings should be between three and five times a week to progress through the job process. 

“We’re not seeing interviews that much now,” said Clegg, “You have to put it in a lot of applications now to get a job because there’s just not as many jobs and more people competing for them.”

Baer says with the help of Justice Jobs, he’s been able to apply for 30-to-40 jobs a week. 

He’s hoping to land a position soon that will jump start a career path and give him the opportunity to go back to school and earn a degree.

“For the first time in a long time, I’m building up a lot of references, building up a better understanding of the workplace,” said Baer.

For more information on Justice Jobs of Maryland, visit https://www.justicejobsmd.org/

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