Western Massachusetts Career Centers Adjust to Higher Unemployment Rates

The national unemployment rate remained above 8% for the second straight month in June. For career centers in Western Massachusetts, that downward trend means finding new approaches to help job seekers get back to work.

FutureWorks Career Center in Springfield says the number of job openings employers posted in June were down 30% compared with last year. Kevin Lynn is manager of business services at FutureWorks. He says larger factors – like the fragile European economy – make employers wary of hiring new workers.

“For most…of our local employers here, it’s more of a psychological thing, it makes them unsure, it reduces their confidence, and when confidence goes down with employers, the last thing they really want to do is hire.”

Lynn says he encourages the unemployed to use social media outlets to find jobs, but he says many workers are still resistant to embracing new technology. Patricia Crosby is the executive director of Franklin Hampshire Career Center in Greenfield. She says her center’s customers have had more success landing jobs in recent months, but says that isn’t the whole story.

“What it doesn’t indicate, doesn’t show on the face of it is the fact that there might be people taking jobs that are beneath their skill levels, that are less than they wanted in terms of wages, that are perhaps part-time, and they’re holding multiple part-time jobs.”

Crosby says since the recession, the Franklin Hampshire Career Center has added more workshops for older job seekers, some of whom are writing new resumes for the first time in twenty years.