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Getting Help at the First Career Center at AIDS Project Los Angeles

May 2000

The first Career Center at AIDS Project Los Angeles opened in March, when the Work Services Program relocated to new offices on the first floor of the Vine Street building.

The Career Center is located in Room 110 (the old computer lab) and is open for normal business hours five days a week, whenever Work Services staff is on site.

The Career Center includes an Internet-connected computer station, for on-line job searches, and a printer for resumes. Work Services staff provides assistance constructing or updating resumes, tutorials on Internet job searches, career counseling, and information on returning to work for people on disability benefits.

Eventually, the Career Center will house a vocational library. Work Services staff is currently assembling hard-copy job postings and profiles on user-friendly employers for clients looking for work.

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If you are thinking about going to work, or looking for a job, or don't know what to do, stop by the Career Center or call Rice Russell or me for an appointment. Rice can be reached at (323) 993-1616 and I can be reached at (323) 993-1659.


Learn to Navigate the Web

The Work Services staff is in the process of gathering "community" job postings from small employers looking to fill part-time and time-limited positions. However, if you are looking for work, you will likely have to learn how to search the Web for job openings.

Most larger companies, however, no longer publish weekly or monthly job postings. Instead, they post their openings on company Web sites. Hundreds, if not thousands, of job and career-related Web sites can be found on-line. Some, like CalJOBS, are specific to the state. Others are specific to Los Angeles. Some are nationwide. Some, like gaywork.com, serve very specific populations or job markets. (For a previously published article on employment web sites, see the August 1999 edition of Positive Living.)

To better accommodate people looking for work, the computer in the Career Center is pre-loaded with Web sites. Call Work Services to make an appointment for a short tutorial and time to use the computer.

Many clients who come to Work Services have been out of the work force and on disability benefits for some period of time. Often, these clients need to update job skills, or want to change careers completely, or just go to school as an interim step before thinking about work.


Financial Aid is Available

Monthly seminars to educate clients about possibilities for financial aid for technical training or academic course work, and how work will affect disability benefits, are also offered by the Work Services Program.

The first workshop in the Work It! series, "Working the System," devotes three hours to an in-depth exploration of state and federal financial aid, Social Security's Plan to Achieve Self-Support (PASS), federally funded training programs available through Los Angeles' One-Stop Job Centers, and Vocational Rehabilitation (Voc Rehab).

This session also offers working clients and job seekers information on their legal rights and protections under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The second workshop, "Protecting Yourself," covers Social Security's disability payment systems and public health insurances. The focus is on learning the details of Social Security's work incentive programs, and using them to your advantage.

The Work It! Series takes place Wednesday, May 3 and Thursday, May 4, and on Tuesday, June 20 and Thursday, June 22.

Work Services also conducts monthly Voc Rehab workshops. This state agency is a major source of funding for people who want to re-train or re-educate themselves, or move toward some sort of employment.

Voc Rehab can assist people with disability incomes as well as people with HIV who are working part- or full-time if they need training to stay at work or upgrade their job skills.

Voc Rehab Counselor Judith Borstein from the agency's Santa Monica office covers orientation and eligibilities for Voc Rehab's service. She also fields questions and provides feedback on individual plans and proposals, and can help clients craft their plans to meet Voc Rehab's requirements. Clients attending the Voc Rehab workshop also get the paperwork required for applications and instruction in completing the forms.

The Voc Rehab workshop takes place from 2 to 4 p.m. on Monday, May 22 and again from 2 to 4 p.m. on Monday, June 26.

For more information or reservations for any of these workshops, call the Work Services staff, or stop by the new Career Center in Room 110.

Phil Curtis coordinates AIDS Project Los Angeles' Work Services program. He can be reached by calling (323) 993-1659 or by e-mail at pcurtis@APLA.org.


This article has been reprinted at The Body with the permission of AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA).


  
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This article was provided by AIDS Project Los Angeles. It is a part of the publication Positive Living.
 
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