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Q & A with POTS’ Employment Specialist

POTS’ Employment Specialist, Emilio Tavarez, connects our clients to employment and vocational training, assists with resume and cover letter creation, and helps people identify and plan best ways to reach their goals. Direct from Emilio, read about his experiences in finding solutions to the wide-ranging employment needs of POTS’ diverse community

Q. Please give a general overview of the workforce development program at POTS?

A. Clients are encouraged to come in if they are long-term unemployed, recently unemployed, under-employed, or looking for a career change. Before the first time they meet with me, they are instructed to take the Employment Intake Assessment, so I can get some general background information: history of substance abuse, incarceration, languages spoken, etc. If they have one, I look over their resume and discuss it with them to get an understanding of their work history and interests and proceed to support them towards their employment goals. The workforce development program is important because a higher income has the highest impact on a client’s ability to become self-sufficient, which aligns with POTS goal of moving clients from crisis to stability to self-sufficiency.

Q.What are your key goals when working with clients?

A. When working with clients, I highlight the importance of having a good resume and feeling confident about what is on it. I try to work on resumes with my clients, so that they not only have a finished product, but can think about it critically in the future when they need to update it. Cover letter writing skills and interviewing skills are also something I discuss with clients as necessary. Beyond these concrete things, the other key goal I have for clients is narrowing their focus into a long term goal that we can set the groundwork for and aim towards. This could include obtaining a GED or other credential needed, or perhaps training in other aspects such as medical terminology or computer programs.

Q. What are the most rewarding aspects of your position?

A. So far the most rewarding part is when I finish a resume with a client. I believe that the target of resume creation should be to give yourself the best possible credit. At first I ask clients basic questions about jobs they may already have on their resumes because they feel further explanations may be redundant. The gratitude they express after they see what I have done and realize that everything on their resume is completely true brings me great satisfaction, because they can now see themselves how I see them. The biggest problem I see people face is that they don’t know their own worth, and so it’s an issue I have to address over and over. Other rewarding aspects are when I match clients with suitable training that excited them, or when I get emails from clients asking me for more assistance or notifying me that they obtained employment; their effort to reach out to me makes me feel like I’m really making a difference.