The Telegram
  • Employment center focuses on women

  • Despite that the hiring rate has increased recently, it’s not always easy to land a job.

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  • Despite that the hiring rate has increased recently, it’s not always easy to land a job.

    The people at the Women’s Employment & Resource Center Inc. know that.
    The center, which serves residents in Madison, Herkimer and Oneida counties, helps unemployed or struggling women get back into the workplace.
    Ann Marie Aquaviva, who is out of work for the first time in her life, said she wishes she knew about the center sooner.
    “If I had known about this at a younger age it probably would have changed my whole life,” the 62-year-old said.
    Aquaviva graduated Thursday from the center’s Job Readiness class.
    “Our mission is to help women achieve (financial) independence through sustainable employment,” Executive Director Stephanie Eghigian said. “We teach them how to deal with conflict in the workplace; soft skills like organization, getting to work on time, meeting deadlines; and how to balance work with home.”
    The five-week class also offers help with building resumes, writing cover letters, mock interviews, public speaking and computer skills.
    Aquaviva said that the program is “empowering.”
    “It’s a beautiful program,” she said. “I went to this class and I remember thinking, ‘This place can’t be for real.’ They are so willing to help you with anything and everything.”
    The center has about a 50 to 60 percent placement rate and a job retention rate of 60 to 70 percent. There typically is a waiting list, but anyone can sign up.
    Of all the women who use the center, 95 percent are either divorced, widowed, separated, have lost their income or are single mothers on public assistance. The other 5 percent are women who sign up out of interest, but do not fit into these categories.
    “We really … help women overcome barriers to unemployment, whatever they are,” Eghigian said. “They come in the door with … no self confidence, and by the time they leave, they know they have the skills and training it takes to get job they want.”
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