May 14, 2020 By Michael Dorgan
A local relief group that is providing food to needy Queens residents during the COVID-19 shutdown has launched a new job assistance program to help unemployed people get back to work.
LIC Community COVID-19 Relief Group, which has served up more than 30,000 hot meals since it formed two months ago, wants to help out-of-work residents find a job when the economy re-opens.
The group has partnered with the professional career service company Obvious Candidate to offer job seekers free career advice, interview coaching and help with building a resume.
The new service, which launched Thursday, is free and is being financed by donations. To date, LIC Relief has collected more than $130,000 in donations that have gone mostly toward paying restaurants to cook hot meals for residents in need.
The new service comes at a time when many residents are being laid off. City Comptroller Scott Stringer predicted earlier this month that one in five working New Yorkers could lose their job by the end of June.
LIC Relief wants to help people get back to work as quickly as possible, according to group co-founder and co-vice president of the PS/IS 78Q PTA Kelly Craig.
Kelly said that when the economy reopens the job market will be competitive. She added that many people who have lost their job have not had look for work in years–and will need help.
“The job hiring process has changed drastically over the past 10 or 15 years and people’s interview skills or techniques may be outdated,” she said.
“They could easily be left behind when things get back to normal,” she added.
Job-seekers looking to use the free service can do so by logging on to the LIC Relief jobs page and booking an appointment with a professional career guidance coach. Users are asked to schedule an appointment date and time of their choosing from the options.
The 30-minute slots are available seven days a week, from 10 a.m. through 4 p.m.
Users are then asked to answer a few short questions pertaining to which areas they need help with. Other questions involve selecting which industry they are looking for a job in and what type of role would best suit their needs.
Appointments are conducted remotely and users can choose to speak to their coach over the phone or using any internet video conferencing platform.
During the call, users can discuss their needs in greater depth and get the required information from their career coach. Coaches are available to answer job-related questions and offer practical advice along with easy-to-apply job-hunting tips.
There is no limit to the number of appointments an individual can make and coaches are urging all users to book follow-up sessions. This will ensure they are implementing the advice correctly and getting the most out of the service, Craig said.
Craig hopes the service will give residents a competitive edge in the job market and the idea came about after speaking with users of their food service, she said.
The group distributes free non-perishable goods out of the Plaxall Gallery, located at 5-25 46th Ave., every Monday and Thursday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. and also co-ordinates with several local restaurants to provide free hot meals to residents on weekdays.
Craig said that their hot meal program has helped keep restaurants open and workers employed throughout the crisis.
“The service has not only helped feed so many vulnerable people but it has also helped stimulate the local economy and we hope this new [career] service will be an extension of that,” she said.