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Why lower unemployment rates bring more need for employment services


By Kathy Ficcadenti

By Kathy Ficcadenti

Even with unemployment rates at 4 percent and below, we’re seeing more people at our classes now than we did in the spring

Click here to read the entire September 2018 newsletter

What’s behind the paradox

With unemployment rates at 4 percent or below, one might think the Employment Services department at Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph would be on extended vacation. But, nothing could be further from the truth.
“We’re seeing more people at our classes now than we did in the spring,” said Kathy Ficcadenti, director of Employment Services, “plus, we’re dealing with high-risk individuals who are often striving to overcome the challenges of poverty. For this group, landing the job is huge, but equally important, is keeping it.”

This can be difficult for a person locked into generational poverty who might not have been exposed to a good role model with a sound work ethic. As we reported in the first edition of our email newsletter, a recent poll of the top 100 employers in the St. Joseph Missouri area indicated “work ethic” was one of the top deficiencies among current job applicants and yet employers rated this trait most important to their business. Add to this deficiency the dramatic shift in employer/employee relations where lifelong fidelity is a thing of the past. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics today people change jobs on average a dozen times throughout their careers. In January 2016, BLS reported the average employee tenure dropped to 4.2 years, down from 4.6 years in January 2014. While these trends are reflective of all ages and demographics, Ficcadenti asserts these numbers are even more acute among high-risk clients.

“A key part of our program is helping clients develop a personal resume. In reviewing just the last 20-25 resumes we’ve done, the average length of tenure at previous jobs is less than half of the number reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.” said Ficcadenti. “This is why we not only teach the soft skills employers desperately want, but spend significant time on job retention, “ she added.

Every Tuesday morning, the Kansas City office holds workforce classes to infuse a positive self-image in our clients and help them overcome the pitfalls to successful employment.

Every Tuesday morning, the Kansas City office holds workforce classes to infuse a positive self-image in our clients and help them overcome the pitfalls to successful employment.

In Kansas City, every Tuesday from 9 a.m. to noon (times/dates vary for the St. Joseph office, call 816-232-2885), our workforce classes strive to infuse a positive self-image in our clients, discuss the reasons someone leaves a job, steps they can take to overcome these pitfalls and then culminates with these 10 Commitments.

  1. Always strive to be your best self
  2. Don’t complain or criticize
  3. Associate with the positive people who like their jobs
  4. Show up on time every day!
  5. Own your mistakes and learn from them
  6. Reflect before reacting
  7. Show enthusiasm
  8. Practice compassion with yourself and others
  9. Build a support system
  10. Call your case manager if you are having ANY problems at work or if you are thinking about quitting your job

Kathy Ficcadenti, Director of Employment Services
(816) 659-8269

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