Notes from WESPAC’s Unemployment Initiative, inspired by Nick, Kwame and Sandra – First Meeting, April 14, 12-2

Introductions (10 people attended the meeting, with three people coming after 2pm due to misunderstanding about the start time)

What have you learned from being unemployed?
? That it’s hard/frustrating
? That people define each other by their work or lack of it
? That it affects relationships – positive and negative
? Lack of structured day
? That my self worth is not defined by my job/bank account
? Need to network, network, network

What feelings do you have about being unemployed?
? Despair
? Lack of self-worth
? Primal fear – lack/survival – scary
? Deepened faith – helps me look at who I really am
? Been able to discover things that sustain me that are not my job
? Loneliness – no co-workers
? Happy – then feel guilty or embarrassed that I feel happy

What resources have you discovered?
? WEDC – women’s economic development center 948-6098 WELCOME TO WEDC! Learn to successfully start or grow your business by signing up for one of our classes, taking a workshop, or meeting with our professional business counselor. WEDC’s programs address the needs of entrepreneurs at all stages of business development. Find out which of our offerings is best for you! Long term comprehensive business training:
? Dept of Laborwhite plains one stop – resume, cover letter and interview help; computers; mt Vernon one stop – basic computer trg
? DOL, NY – Smart 2010 job search engine – have to go there and sign up –then send your resume to an e-mail and then you get job listings back –
? The Westchester DOL One Stop Employment Center, located at 120 Bloomingdale Road – near Whole Foods – driveway on Maple Ave – runs behind whole foods
? Westchester Library Systems (WEBS) – career workshops/counselors – free Career & Educational Counseling Service (WEBS)-Programs
Facing a difficult work situation? Need help planning or managing your career? Thinking about work options you have after 50? WLS runs specialized programs with trained professionals to guide you in your career path.
? I’ve discovered hope in the air
? Substitute Teaching, any public schools, need bachelors degree
? Labor Ready/Temp Agencies
o Labor Ready downstairs which only offers minimum wage for private jobs
? United Way Volunteer Center – 311
? Neighbors Link in Mt Kisco – a hiring site for undocumented folks where the staff at the center help negotiate the terms of the day job and also help ensure that the employer actually pays the worker. It is a place where day laborers can learn English and develop some computer skills as well as hang out off the streets when there is no work for them. Immigrant children can get help with their homework and English Language skills from local high school volunteers. Neighbors Link encourages at least $10 an hour, sometimes $15 an hour for day jobs.
? Free/cheap entertainment – movies at Yonkers Riverfront Library, etc
? Free trainings – Foundation Center, Local Public Access Television
? Each other

What gaps in services have you discovered?
What are greatest challenges you face?
What do you need?
? Need to learn Spanish – would expand my job search a lot
? Making jobs known to people
? Networking/sharing resources
? Business Opportunities
? To be proactive
? Getting paid to do art
? Age
? Lack of training

Where do you want to go from here?

What next steps would you like to see come out of this meeting?
? To continue the discussion – schedule another meeting
? Discuss cooperative ventures
o Taxi business
o Home/Apt cleaning/rehab service
? Discuss other proactive steps we can take collectively
? Have a yahoo group
? Bring a friend to the next meeting

o Sharron will type up meeting notes and distribute to all attendees
o Schedule next meeting (in e-mail with notes attached)
o Explore funding to support this Initiative