PA Career Link

November 10, 2023 00:27:51
PA Career Link
Upper Merion Township Community Connections
PA Career Link

Nov 10 2023 | 00:27:51

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Show Notes

Chuck Kirlin sits down with Manuel Buttner Career Advisor for Montgomery County Career Link.

PA CareerLink® is part of the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry’s initiative to transform the landscape of how job-seekers find family sustaining jobs and how employers find the skilled candidates that they need. Through this initiative, a user-friendly, premiere job-matching system has been created to help bridge the gap that currently exists between job-seekers and employers.

pacareerlink.pa.gov
1430 Dekalb ST Norristown, PA, 19401-3426
610-270-3429/TTY: 610-270-1273
Manuel Buttner Career Advisor 610-270-3429 ext. 6151

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Episode Transcript

00;00;00;00 - 00;00;27;17 Unknown Hello and welcome to this edition of Community Connections. I am your host, Chuck Curl, and today will be discussing the topic of Montgomery County career link and with a career advisor by the name of Manny Butner. Manny, welcome to the program. Thank you for having me. All right. Give us a little understanding of what career link is about and where is it based out of. 00;00;27;19 - 00;01;02;12 Unknown Well, the career link is the one that I'm working at is based in Norristown for Montgomery County. It's at 1432 Cal Street in Norristown, and the P.A. link was something that evolved over the years. And the whole idea, the career link is to help people to achieve their employment goals, either through training, through job development, through workshops, resumé development, things like that, and also to help them set their goals and give them the chance to use the services of a career only to achieve those goals. 00;01;02;14 - 00;01;27;25 Unknown Now, how did you get involved in career life? Well, I started back in the nineties. I was had just retired from 22 years in the Navy. I was working for a contractor, a Navy contractor at the time, going to school. And then I got a job with a local community service agency. And through that community service agency, I found out there was also a job available with what was called the One-Stop Center. 00;01;27;27 - 00;01;51;02 Unknown This was in a county in California, and I started working for the One-Stop Center as a job developer. And my job then was to help people get jobs and be trained for jobs. So I did that for a while and also included contacting employers and and working with employers to get people to get into jobs. So I did that for a few years. 00;01;51;02 - 00;02;19;11 Unknown And then after that, I transferred to another county agency in California as a vocational coordinator. And in that job I worked with disabled people, helping them also get job training, job coaching and job placement and two jobs within the community. So that's how I got involved with working within the community agencies. When my wife was transferred from California to Pennsylvania, of course, the family moved out here with her. 00;02;19;13 - 00;02;44;08 Unknown I was working as as a kind of a community service assistant for various agencies, working with Medicare and Medicaid programs and and other community programs. And then I was getting ready to retire from that. And I saw a job opening with the Montgomery County P.A. career link as a career advisor, which is very similar work to what I was doing before in California as a job developer. 00;02;44;11 - 00;03;08;13 Unknown And I applied for that job and I was hired and I've been at that job now for the last four years. I'm curious, from California to Pennsylvania, do you see a big difference in what you're dealing with, with people in career? Yes, you do see it in the area that I was working at in the county, it was mainly agricultural, rural area, Imperial County, a predominantly rural agricultural area. 00;03;08;13 - 00;03;30;24 Unknown So we didn't see too many I.T. jobs and things like that. There were some, of course, but not very many. 80% of the job force was agricultural. So you were working with people who are looking to go into that industry to transfer to Pennsylvania completely the other way around. Very few people that working with agriculture in this area. 00;03;30;26 - 00;03;57;13 Unknown Some landscaping and things like that, but very few. And so the predominant business community was either business, industry, I.T., things like that. So it was a it was a little bit of shift for me to make that transition. So I had to learn that industry and in those kinds of employment needs. So the career link here in Montgomery County, do businesses come to you or do you try to reach out to businesses to try to make the connections? 00;03;57;14 - 00;04;42;13 Unknown Well, it's a twofold street. We do have our business service team that works with the employment community. They they go out and they contact employers. They work with employers directly. And the whole idea is to try to help the employers to be able to get good candidates for those jobs that they are needing to fill. And then that's the other side of the coin for Carelink is we have participants pay participants that come in and are looking for jobs, and we try to make that connection with the employer or we try to prepare that participant either through a training, through workshops, any kind of job coaching or job referral or job readiness programs that we 00;04;42;13 - 00;05;05;14 Unknown have to make that participant or that employee a better fit for the employer. So we're working constantly with both sides of the of the aisle there. Where do you find most of the employees that are coming from? And what I mean by that is like, are you getting like older employees or you getting younger that are coming for your assistance? 00;05;05;16 - 00;05;35;14 Unknown And where do they know where what avenue are they coming from to get your help? Sure. Well, we get the spectrum of everybody. We get young, young people coming out of high school, for example, looking for either training programs or employment. And we also get the older community that comes in who is either been in a job for 20, 30, even 40 years, and they either were laid off or they left the job and they're coming in to try to get back into employment. 00;05;35;21 - 00;05;56;12 Unknown So we get the spectrum of everybody. So we have to have a staff that can be able to work with the young community coming in, which is which Their needs and their goals are a little bit different from older workers that come in. And so we have to identify what the goal is for each of these communities. What's the best avenue? 00;05;56;13 - 00;06;19;27 Unknown What's the best resource? What's the best service that can help that person to achieve their goal with any kind of program or service that we have a career like? And you mentioned training. Is there one specific type of training that you see most of the potential employers are heading towards, or are they learning more on it or are they trying to get more involved in food service, hotel management? 00;06;20;02 - 00;06;45;01 Unknown Where do they seem to be? Well, trainings are kind of identified with what's going on with the labor market. We have what we call high priority occupations, things like nursing, I.T., construction, commercial truck drivers, things like that machinist. Those are kind of high priority occupations. They were that employers are really anxious to fill in this in this situation. 00;06;45;01 - 00;07;08;25 Unknown Now, there's a lot more jobs available and there are candidates to to fill them. So we're trying to offer trainings that can fill those kind of jobs or some kind of apprenticeship program, things like that, that can help fill those jobs. Those are programs that are available through the PA right now. The recruiting website, which is PA career linked PA dot gov. 00;07;08;27 - 00;07;31;05 Unknown If I may, if a participant or a person or jobseekers looking to find out what programs are available, those programs can be found in the PA currently website. And do you get notifications when people are visiting the website or has been there a lot of traffic on these websites to try to find work? Right now I'm not sure how that works. 00;07;31;05 - 00;07;50;09 Unknown I don't have that information. But the website is available. I know that we have people that come in that are constantly either using the website in our center and are calling center, or they are letting us know that they've gone into the website and and are using the website. Now, I don't have the information as to how many people use the P.A. and like that. 00;07;50;12 - 00;08;12;27 Unknown Fine, I can get that information. Well, I'm curious, Manning, because you did mention something that I find rather interesting, that there are more jobs than employers. So as long as you've been doing that, have you ever seen that before where there's an overabundance of work and not enough employers to fill those jobs? Yes. And in my previous experience in California that was usually the case. 00;08;12;28 - 00;08;36;07 Unknown Okay. It was. So you're seeing. Well, in my experience, I've seen that in other places before. So, yes, I have seen that. And you're seeing it now here as well. Yeah. So when you look at when you look at career link and how it can benefit the people in this community, what what's your best advice for someone to to navigate the system? 00;08;36;09 - 00;08;58;09 Unknown Right. Then the best advice is go into the recruiting website, try to go in there first and see what the website can offer as far as job information, training, other programs that are available through the peer, not just through the P.A., but through other are the calling and other agencies that are affiliated with peer link as a as a workforce partnership. 00;08;58;12 - 00;09;27;29 Unknown So there's a lot of programs that are available. Once they have an idea of what's available, they can come visit us. And visiting includes possibly participating what we call or welcome a board orientation where they can come in and get information about all the programs and services available through pay currently. And then immediately after that, they get a chance to talk with the PR representative about what their goals are and how PR career link can help them achieve those goals. 00;09;27;29 - 00;09;32;14 Unknown More interesting is the structure and how many people are in place. 00;09;32;15 - 00;09;54;18 Unknown Can you give us an idea of how many people are working with you to try to find people that successful connection? Sure. We have a staff of about 30 people and composed of different agencies working within the career link. Those agencies are the Bureau of Work Work Partnership Organization that's part of the Department of Labor and Industry for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. 00;09;54;20 - 00;10;38;10 Unknown It includes staff from Educational Data Systems Inc., which is a staff that works with the business services team and the career services team. Maturity Works also is part of it, and Montgomery County Community College, we have people from there working there and also we have Markel Works, who works as part of the P.A. link structure. Those three people are professionals who are devoted and they are working hard to be the the conduit, so to speak, for services and programs from the career link for their customers, their clients and their participants. 00;10;38;13 - 00;11;11;20 Unknown And those people also provide information on the business service team, the career service team, and the career advisors who are part of that team. The business service team are the group that works with employers and job seekers and the career services team works with training, apprenticeship programs. Those kinds of programs and the career advisors handle the direct work with participants who are part of different programs within the career link. 00;11;11;23 - 00;11;35;12 Unknown I'm curious if somebody who is looking for this service, would you recommend that come the come to the office physically or do everything online? Right now a participant can't come in to the office and we can work with them directly about services. That way we'll have an opportunity to meet them, talk to them, get good information about what their goals and what their strategy towards their goals are. 00;11;35;15 - 00;12;08;03 Unknown This includes job searching, training, partnership, referrals, things like that. If they go into the EPA recruiting website, they can also get basically the same services. They can go in there and look at all these different programs that are available through the career link. If they're looking for more personalized services, I do recommend that they come in and talk to us, participate in a welcome a board orientation, and be able to get to the whole spectrum of information and we can talk to them directly. 00;12;08;05 - 00;12;32;10 Unknown One of our representatives in this day and age, are you seeing a lot more people walk in or on online? We are getting increased traffic coming into the peak acreage links for different services. And now I don't have the information as to how many people are going into the website to let you know what the difference is. But we are seeing more increased traffic going into the web, into the calling office. 00;12;32;13 - 00;12;55;04 Unknown When they come into the office or are they looking for one specific type of job? No, they come in for all kinds of different jobs. And we have information of all kinds of different jobs, all kinds of different industries. And also within the recruiting website are information about all kinds of different jobs that they can that they can search for or filter for things like that and get information on some jobs. 00;12;55;06 - 00;13;23;14 Unknown You go directly to the employer and the employer website to be able to apply. Some jobs are processed through the PA career Link website or P.A. link services. So there are all kinds of different jobs. And when they come in, we talk to them and we find out what kinds of jobs they're looking for or what kind of training we are seeing, or an increased number of people wanting to come in and do a commercial truck driver training, CDL, driver's licenses, things like that. 00;13;23;16 - 00;13;43;19 Unknown A lot of people wanting to go into the health care industries, things like that. We are seeing some that are interested in the I.T. professions. So we are seeing more of those And then other. But you do get a spectrum of all kinds of requests and all kinds of goals. Now, you mentioned like to acquire a CD license to be a truck driver. 00;13;43;21 - 00;14;06;22 Unknown Would they? Who's funding the testing for them to get that license is do they have to pay out of pocket to get that CDs or is career link assisting in that career and can assist with that. There's a program called the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act, WIOD, and that program does help to train dislocated and adult workers through that program. 00;14;06;25 - 00;14;30;21 Unknown CDL truck driver training can be funded through that program. Now, each person is is individually assessed to see what if they qualify and things like that. You do have to qualify for this kind of funding. So a representative will talk to them, get all the information, see if they qualify. And if they do, then they will process to be able to go through that training. 00;14;30;23 - 00;14;56;25 Unknown You personally, how many people do you try to assist on like, say, like a weekly basis? Is it like a handful? And I'm sure it's a process that you have to follow because you want to make sure you're aligning somebody up with the specific task or job that they can do? That's correct. Now, depending on the and the season and so forth, you get the do get seasonals type of people that come in to to look for jobs. 00;14;56;25 - 00;15;21;26 Unknown You get people coming in during the the spring months, for example they're are looking into working outdoors, landscaping, agriculture, things like that. You get some people during the school years, you get different people looking for bus driver or teaching or teaching assistant jobs, things like that. You do get, like I said, a lot of people coming in to do commercial truck driver training, things like that. 00;15;21;26 - 00;15;52;20 Unknown Machinist. So you do get a depending on the season, you get a number of different people. Myself, I work with. It varies, but I work between, let's say 30 to 40 people a week that I see. Yeah, depending on what they're doing. And during that process and I help, I help those people. Is there ever any type of like language barriers that that you have to deal with, like people that might not speak English and you're trying to decipher where you're going to be able to fit, find them the perfect fit. 00;15;52;21 - 00;16;16;17 Unknown Right now, we do have a language service that we have access to that can help with most languages. I myself am a Spanish speakers, so I am bilingual and I do help Spanish speaking clients that come in with different services. But we do have that language service available, so we use that service when we don't have the communication skills to be able to help a particular client with languages. 00;16;16;19 - 00;16;34;16 Unknown But yes, we do that. That's not a barrier for us that we can say, we can't help you because we don't speak your language. We we do try to accommodate everybody as best as possible. Yeah, I figured being bilingual has to be an advantage in this day and age. It's great that you're able to speak multiple languages. 00;16;34;16 - 00;16;55;13 Unknown Yes, that does help a lot. It does help the center quite a bit When when we have to work with Spanish speaking clients. And my in my case. Yes. And so you you've looked at some of these. You've dealt with 30 to 40 people. Can you share in a success story that you've had? Well, it has to do with those particular Spanish speaking client that I had. 00;16;55;15 - 00;17;18;11 Unknown It was about a year ago, this gentleman who came in quite a few times, he he was coming in and his language skills were pretty much limited to Spanish only. So I was working with him, trying to get his trying to find out what goals he had, what was his what was his intent as far as staying in employment and things like that. 00;17;18;13 - 00;17;45;06 Unknown So we worked quite a bit, quite a few months that I worked with him trying to identify exactly what it was that this particular client had in mind. And after a while working with him, finding out, getting information, finding out exactly what his goal was, we were finally able to reach that point. I was able to help him with job referrals, and he ended up getting the job that he wanted, which he's still in at this time. 00;17;45;08 - 00;17;56;28 Unknown And so I got a I got a kind of an email from him recently saying, thanks so much that that you helped me with this job and I'm doing well in my job. 00;17;56;28 - 00;17;58;25 Unknown Maybe that sounds very rewarding, 00;17;58;25 - 00;18;04;26 Unknown One thing I'm curious to ask is what services and projects is the organization involved in now? 00;18;04;28 - 00;18;29;28 Unknown All right, very good. Our current projects right now is a big focus on outreach. So right now we have an outreach program going on that will reach the some of the outer cities and towns within Montgomery County. And Montgomery County is a big county, and we only have the one PA career center in Norristown. So it's very hard for some who are in the outreach of Montgomery County to come in to the recruiting center. 00;18;30;03 - 00;18;51;24 Unknown Now they can use a website, but some services do require participants to come into the center. So we try to make that outreach out to the outer communities. We do have an outreach program that we that we call our customer engagement unit that they go out and they do that and we call that program PR link on the road and P.A. Inc. 00;18;51;24 - 00;19;15;22 Unknown On the road right now is we're visiting Souderton and Pottstown and we do that on a monthly basis. When our team goes out there, we do a like a career scope, like orientation. Then we meet with each individual that participates individually. We find out what their goals are, We try to assess their needs, and then we do a referral to services that they are looking for. 00;19;15;22 - 00;19;44;16 Unknown And then we do follow up with them after that. So we do try to make that outreach. Right now. We're there also as an employer engagement program that's going on is called an informational symposium, and it had guest speakers with the Department of Labor and Industry to employers and for employer employee needs. And the employer symposium was well received and attended and will become a yearly event. 00;19;44;19 - 00;20;22;05 Unknown Also, the employer program includes podcast recruitment and job fairs and a weekly newsletter that goes out. A recently implemented project is the access skill up. This is a flexible self-paced online program which offers educational and training courses for jobseekers so they can organize their their goals and online training programs that so they can improve their ability to be marketable for employers within the community. 00;20;22;08 - 00;20;44;07 Unknown The program is free and available 24 seven and you can do that through the Pay Currently website. Excellent. It's a beautiful thing. I'm listening this and I'm just thinking you have to have some very heartwarming stories of people that you've been able to help. And that's the first thing I thought of because you have a lot going on, there's no doubt. 00;20;44;08 - 00;21;13;05 Unknown Yes. Yes, that's true. Another story that comes to mind was a young lady I was working with. This was during actually during the pandemic. And at that time, it was a bit difficult area of time for a lot of people. It was a difficult time economically. And I had a young lady come in who had been laid off from her work because a lot of people were during that time and she wanted training for an LPN training. 00;21;13;07 - 00;21;38;13 Unknown Now, in her case, we needed to find out what her educational background was, things like that. She needed more assistance to complete her high school. So I was able to refer her to a high school program. We then also offered through the YWCA, which is one of our workforce partners, and they were able to help her with her high school program. 00;21;38;15 - 00;21;59;04 Unknown She came back later on and she was referred to our career services team who helped her get into that program. So that that's another success story, though that was a difficult time during the pandemic and she was able to achieve her goal. Yeah, and you made a point that like during the pandemic, obviously there was a big shutdown. 00;21;59;07 - 00;22;24;18 Unknown So a lot of people weren't working because of that. Now, since the pandemic has subsided, are you seeing more of an increase? yes, definitely more of an increase. More people are more willing to be out in public and more willing to be involved in these programs. So you're you are seeing a lot more participation in programs and a lot more use of the career link, things like that. 00;22;24;20 - 00;22;57;23 Unknown Is there one program in specific? I know you mentioned Manko. Montgomery County Community College. Is there someone that specifically handles that school for career link or do all the advisors like yourself have a hand in it? Well, in the sense of referrals to Montgomery Community College, we all have a hand in that in the sense of referrals. Now, there is one representative that we have there at the P.A. who is from Montgomery County Community College, and she's able to give us information on programs at the college. 00;22;57;25 - 00;23;21;14 Unknown Is there any specific employer that you're seeing more and more lean on career linked to try to help them? Because as you mentioned, there are an abundance of jobs and not enough employees to fill these roles. We are seeing more commercial driving companies, trucking companies that really want to use PR clearly to help fill their their driver needs. 00;23;21;17 - 00;23;41;10 Unknown And so we are seeing quite a bit of that. That would be a question that our business service team would probably be more able to answer more in detail. Right. But yeah, you're seeing more of that. The other thing I was curious about, you mentioned the on the road. Do you ever go on the road to do some of the recruiting as well? 00;23;41;17 - 00;24;07;11 Unknown So what do you find to be better? Do you like being out on the road or you like working in the office? Sure. And we all, all the career advisors take turns going out with the PR grilling on the road community team, and we do that monthly. So we have a staff that's dedicated to do that and then we assist that staff in going out to to the communities and in Pottstown and Souderton. 00;24;07;14 - 00;24;29;09 Unknown And you know, personally, my goal is to work with anyone that I can help, whether it's in the recruiting office or on the road. So I enjoy both. Yeah, I was always curious because when you're out and about, you get a different feel. Right. And you know, when the people are showing up that they're interested and it sort of makes your job a little bit. 00;24;29;16 - 00;24;51;25 Unknown Not that it's easy, but it gives you a better idea of where you can get that. Perfect. That's exactly right. So the people that we see at the outreach program, those, you know, are people that have a gold standard or motivator. They want to know about programs. They want to go to work. So you know that the person you're seeing coming in is not being forced to be there in any way or they're not there. 00;24;51;27 - 00;25;17;27 Unknown They're all there on will. They want to be there and they want they want services and assistance. Now, would career link be affiliated like with the prison systems? Like if a prisoner, something that was in prison was released and they have to find a job, would they be someone that. Well. Any any any customer that comes into to pay whether they're from the legal system or anything like that, they can come in and we will work with them. 00;25;17;27 - 00;25;43;04 Unknown And will any barriers that they may be available if there's a legal issue that's going on. We do have a legal aid workshop that can help with that. We work with all our customers and barriers. We always look for barriers to see if there's any way that we can help to eliminate any of the barriers. And I'm really curious on this part, too, because being a career advisor, there has to be challenges that you're dealing with. 00;25;43;07 - 00;26;06;12 Unknown yeah. What seems to be the biggest challenge that you run into? My biggest challenge is, is when a particular customer comes in and they're not sure what it is that they want. And so you have to really dig in. You really have to talk with that person to see what it is that they that they want. Sometimes they're confused about what programs and services are available. 00;26;06;12 - 00;26;29;05 Unknown So you have to explain some of that information. Then you have to try to finalize what it is that you're looking for, either looking for training or they're looking for jobs. Obviously, the end goal is a job, right? But it may require some kind of training or maybe they already have the prerequisite skills to go into a job, but they're not sure where they want or they're looking for a particular salary or wage or things like that. 00;26;29;05 - 00;26;47;10 Unknown So you have to really, really talk to people and get all the information you can so you can try to finalize what it is that they're that they want to do so that sometimes that's the biggest challenge. Final question, If someone watching this program wants more information, how would they go about getting it right so they can contact the PR career link office? 00;26;47;11 - 00;27;13;10 Unknown One way is to visit our office. We're at 1430 DeKalb Street in in Norristown. We're in the Human Resources Services Building. They can come in and visit us. We do have free parking available so they can come in and use our parking garage and and work with us. They can call us at 6102703429. My particular extension is 6151. 00;27;13;10 - 00;27;34;28 Unknown They can call me or they can visit us on the website. PR Career Link dot dot gov. They can go to that website and they can see all the information about services and also contact us through the website. Maybe I'd like to wish you continued success because it seems like you really enjoy doing what you're doing and I appreciate you being a guest here today. 00;27;34;29 - 00;27;51;24 Unknown Thank you very much. It was a pleasure. Mandy BUTTNER has been our guest here today, a career advisor for the Montgomery County career link. For all of us here at UMG television. I'm Chuck Kirkland. Thank you for watching.

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