What makes Career Transitions Center West Michigan different from similar organizations? How did it start?

Career Transitions Center West Michigan was found in July 2009. We launched our first program, “Taking Charge of Your Future” in August . Our organization from the beginning has been completely volunteer driven. Many our volunteers have a background in Human Resources and all have hiring experience.  Our programs are delivered by hiring professionals; this is our differentiator in delivering career development services. Many of our volunteers have a background in human resources and can share their experiences and best practices in hiring from the employers point-of-view.

CTCwm was started in response to the increase in unemployment in 2008 – 2009 during the economic  downturn of the period, our target participants were for professions that may or may not of received outplacement services.  Our initial program, Taking Charge of Your Future began as a job readiness program. Today we’ve expanded it to include those who are looking to explore career options… The fee was based on a comparable program in Chicago that had a similar program. There were no other programs similar to this outside Michigan other than Michigan Works! and Goodwill which serves a different demographic at that time.

On our steering Committee, two individuals represented two well-established outplacement agencies, Anderson Keegin and Right Management, particularly to guide our programming development. Their clients were cutting back on services for outplacement limiting  previous services and shortening the time frames for some programs.  Their clients are businesses and they were and still do experience individuals seeking their services. We still receive referrals from these firms.

What are some of the services Career Transitions Center West Michigan offers?

We are best known for our job readiness program TAKING CHARGE OF YOUR FUTURE which is celebrating its 5th year. Presented by experienced hiring professionals, this 30-day intensive, cost-effective program prepares individuals to return to work, apply for a promotion at work, or look for new career opportunities.

In 2010, we were approached by Kent District Libraries to form a partnership to provide workshops for jobseekers. We continue this partnership and will be offering our series in October at the Kentwood Branch. These workshops are free to all interested individuals.

We also added individualized coaching due to demand last year. We work one-to-one with individuals that choose this option.Many need to conduct confidential job searches as they are currently working. This service is provided for a cost effective fee,

What is your background? How did you get involved with Career Transitions Center West Michigan?

I did not found CTCWM but was asked to a member of the steering committee that put the organization together. I have over 25 years of Human Resources experience, five years as a Talent Acquisition Specialist at GE Aviation and Meijer. The organization was a good fit for me as our programs are presented from the POV of the hiring team, To this date, CTCWM continues to be a volunteer driven organization. Our volunteers have direct hiring experience and bring their experience to our programs.

My general advice to jobseekers is don’t go it alone. If an individual is “lost” or “struggling” in the process we are here to help them regroup, focus, and implement a job strategy.

What are the future plans of Career Transitions Center West Michigan?

CTCWM’s plans are to continue our programs for 2014 – 2015. For more information, please visit our new website at ctcwm.org (no www).