Haven for job seekers starts to grow
by Joe Shreve
May 02, 2011 | 3280 views | 0 0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Hiring expert Ken Winters addresses job seekers on how to make oneself stand out to potential employers at his second Hirewire Workshop at Gateway Bible Church on April 12. Joe Shreve/Press-Banner
Hiring expert Ken Winters addresses job seekers on how to make oneself stand out to potential employers at his second Hirewire Workshop at Gateway Bible Church on April 12. Joe Shreve/Press-Banner
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For many out-of-work and underemployed people living through a recession, finding a job can seem a hopeless endeavor.

Scotts Valley resident Ken Winters, however, has set out to make employment a little bit easier to find.

Winters, the proprietor of independent corporate recruiter Staffback.org, founded Hirewire.org to translate his expertise in human resources into tips and techniques for job seekers.

His Hirewire workshops, which meet the second Tuesday of each month at GateWay Bible Church, consists of four 15-minute sections in which Winters discusses common questions regarding résumé building, job searching and networking, along with a question-and-answer session — all at no charge.

Winters said the idea came to him when his church pastor, Fred Hennes, called upon members of the congregation to use their unique skills to do good for their community.

“I was helping a lot of job seekers one on one,” Winters said. “They were all asking a lot of the same questions.”

Santa Cruz County’s unemployment rate stood at 14.7 percent in March, according the California Employment Development Department, and in 2010, California paid a record $22.9 billion to 1.7 million workers who filed unemployment claims. The numbers calculate out to about $90 million every workday.

“I think it’s such a need,” said Dan Bowman, an associate pastor at the church. “(Winters) is giving people the tools to get a better employment opportunity.

“It was a question of, what had God gifted you with to help others?”

Since founding Hirewire in February, Winters has led two meetings, and some results are beginning to show.

“I’ve helped about a dozen people find work directly,” he said.

He has helped people get interviews and encouraged others to begin their own businesses while searching for work.

Winters said his long-term plan for Hirewire is to have it reach what he calls a “critical mass” — about 100 people per meeting.

“I would encourage people to attend, because when we hit critical mass, employers will take notice,” he said. “I’m trying to build this up to be a monthly job fair.”

Winters said the two meetings that have taken place represent the first of what he hopes will be a series of 100.

“I’ve made a 10-year commitment to providing this service,” he said.

At a glance

What: Next Hirewire.org job seeker meeting

When: 6 to 7 p.m. May 10

Where: GateWay Bible Church, 5000 Granite Creek Road, in Scotts Valley

Info: www.hirewire.org

To comment, e-mail reporter Joe Shreve at joe@pressbanner.com, call 438-2500 or post a comment at www.pressbanner.com.

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