Volunteer career networking group helps 100 job seekers find local jobs in first year

When Lisa Wiley Parker moved to Michigan with her husband and children, she intended to spend some time away from her career as a job recruiter as a stay-at-home mom.

"The playgroups didn't work out so much," she says, "but the stories I started hearing from the other moms about their families who were looking for work made me realize there was a need for someone to help them."

While Parker was able to find area resources for blue-collar job seekers and parolees, she noticed an obvious gap in services for professional-level displaced workers. So she started one on her own.

For two and a half years, Parker has been volunteering her time and talents on a weekly basis, meeting with groups of displaced professionals at a Tim Horton's. The members of the Lansing Area Job Seekers Meetup Group benefit from networking, collective resources and changing their job seeking habits based on advice from the group.

About a year ago, Capital Area Michigan Works! heard about the group and asked Parker if she was interested in volunteering with them for similar purposes. She now lends her time to CAMW as well, coordinating a similar weekly group called Lansing Go Getters. In it's first year, Parker estimates the group, which regularly hosts 20 to 40 people per week, helped place workers in 100 jobs.

"In the last couple of weeks we've had ten or twelve from our group get jobs," she says. "It's been a wonderful thing see."
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