April 27, 2022

BHCC Students Learn Job-Readiness Skills with the PIC Job Club

Vania Ramos, a senior Criminal Justice major at BHCC, dreams of working for the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Vania Ramos, a senior year at Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC) and PIC Job Club member, has begun her internship at the Brockton District Court – a step that brings her one step closer to achieving her career goals.

Vania and her family moved to Massachusetts from Cape Verde when she was just 12 years old. In another country and with only limited knowledge of the English language, early on, she found it difficult to adjust to her new life, particularly in school. Vania, however, did not shy away from the challenge of adapting to her new surroundings. With the support of her family, she studied the language and is now as fluent in English as she is in Portuguese and her native language of Cape Verdean Creole.

A decade later, the same determination continues to fuel the pursuit of her dream to work for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. As a Criminal Justice major at BHCC, Vania seizes every opportunity to gain work experience as graduation nears. Through the help of the PIC Career and Employment Specialist Janice Chory, she received coaching to prepare for her interview and improve her resume, which has allowed her to take an internship in an administrative role at the Brockton District Court.

“I am grateful for the help I received from the PIC that allowed me to get this job. My job at the courthouse is not only a way to gain job experience but also a chance for me to learn about the law, so it’s a great starting point for me,” she explained.

Vania, a West Roxbury Academy graduate, was eager for more career help, so when Janice introduced her to the PIC’s new Job Club Program, she did not hesitate to join. The Job Club, a five-week workshop on job readiness, provides education and support to students looking for work and acts as a support group for job seekers. Under the guidance of Janice and PIC Postsecondary Career Coach Zainab Salejwala, participants learned about job search techniques, networking, and other job-related activities. In addition, discussions focused on self-identity, self-awareness, strengths and needs, applications and job postings, resume and cover letter writing, interviewing, and a 30-second elevator speech.

Vania says she has gained a solid foundation to build upon as she builds her career and future through the Job Club. More so, she has found a support system outside of her family that believes in her potential to achieve her goals.

“I want to say thank you to Janice, Zainab, and the PIC for everything they’ve done for me. I never had somebody outside of my family that supported me and believed in me as they have,” said Vania.

Now that the first Job Club cycle has concluded, Vania will continue to be part of the club. Alumni participants will return as guest speakers to future Job Club sessions and student job panels and support one another in individual or group coaching.

Funding for the PIC Job Club program and its incentives for student participants was made possible through the generous support of the Salesforce Foundation.

Zainab Salejwala (left) and Janice Chory (right) led the 5-week PIC Job Club program and helped prepare Vania (center) and other students in their job search through a variety of job readiness activities.

About the PIC Job Club

The PIC Job Club, a five-part workshop series on job readiness, is offered to provide education and support to students who are looking for work. The Job Club is a support group for job seekers. It is a positive environment for job seekers to create a community. Additionally, participants share information about their job search techniques, networking experiences, and other job-related activities such as resume development, cover letter writing, and interviewing preparedness. Research has shown that job clubs have significant positive impacts on job placement. The key benefits of participating in the Job Club are meeting with other people in this job searching process, building job search skills, and succeeding faster. Working in a group is more powerful than working on the job search alone.

The PIC developed the Job Club program to create a safe space and community for students to strengthen and practice vital workforce skills. In addition, students would benefit from sharing one another’s frustrations and successes through the program. The program was designed with a participation rate of about 12 students, small enough to have support and deep connections but large enough that the focus wasn’t just on one or two people. The five-week program touches on the major components of a job search, and topics include self-identity, self-awareness, identifying strengths and needs, applications and job postings, resume, cover letter writing, interviewing, and a 30-second elevator speech.

Following the success of the first Job Club cycle, the PIC plans to offer sessions throughout the year and even invite alumni participants as guest speakers to future Job Club sessions and student job panels, and continue to support one another in individual or group coaching.

Funding for the PIC Job Club program and its incentives for student participants was made possible through the generous support of the Salesforce Foundation.


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