New Workforce Program Really Helps People Help Themselves!
By Barry Kerzner
Central Florida – Everyone knows that the economy is rough. A lot of people have been laid off and even more are afraid they will be laid off. Many families are living paycheck to paycheck. Most people want to put away a little nest egg or an emergency fund for a rainy day, but they are finding it harder and harder to do so, if at all.
Enter the Workforce Connection and their “Talent Hub” pilot program, launched in partnership with the College of Central Florida. After initial orientations in Ocala and Lecanto, classes of 25 were established in Lecanto at CCF’s Learning and Conference Center, and CCF’s Ocala campus Enterprise Center. Once capacity was reached, students were able to attend a virtual presentation of the same class via the internet. This program helps people navigate the entrepreneur and freelance world through alternative working and earning strategies, examining what is necessary to implement them.
One of the first exercises is completing the Interest Profiler RIASEC instrument to see in what general areas your innate skills and interests will serve you best: Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional. The interest areas where a person has scored the highest translate into a “Job Zone” that tells how much preparation is needed to pursue Social careers within that preparation level. Another important tool introduced to attendees is LinkedIn, the professional social networking site. Establishing a profile and connections, and then seeking recommendations puts a person in front of entire networks of potential clients otherwise never reached.
As the class progresses, students are guided by facilitator Steve Urquhart through various tools that can be used to start, plan, maintain, and grow their business. Most of these tools are available in their basic form for free online. By using them, a freelancer, solopreneur or small business owner can reach the market they need to want to reach Besides the tools, businesses need to know who their markets are, and how to best to reach them. They have to know how to put their work out there in the right places to be seen by the right people. A business can not “throw it against the wall and hope it sticks.” Doing this will feel like swimming and just flailing about, going nowhere. The biggest key to this is learning to leverage “social media” such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, LinkedIn, and blogs. Mr. Urquhart gave presentations on Facebook and WordPress basics to help students get started with these indispensable tools.
Another point taught and reinforced in classes is not to waste time or effort; efficiency saves time, money, and resources. As part of this reinforcement, Mr. Urquhart provided links to webcasts and online seminars that students can access anytime. He also started a group for each class online at the LinkedIn site that lists discussions and links to even MORE tools, classes, and reading material including online sites and articles.
Other alternative workforce strategies taught are crowdsourcing, virtual networking, and project work in virtual teams. These strategies involve breaking down a project amongst a team whose physical location is not as important as having each team member work a part of the project that plays to their strengths and abilities. Another benefit of Mr. Urquhart having established teams on the LinkedIn network is that even after the class ends, this “network” can collaborate on projects together if they choose to do so. The network exists to provide networking, resources, business leads and a sounding board for growth and success.
The official pilot of “Talent Hub” concludes this week. There is talk of presenting the next run of this program by the end of the calendar year. We will be on the lookout for more information as it becomes available.
To learn more about Talent Hub check out http://yourtalenthub.com or look for updates and information on Twitter @YourTalentHub and at Facebook.com/YourTalentHub.