Workshop to help homemakers rejoin work force

CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks Matt Barela, left, and David Brown of New Mexico Workforce Connection hold a conference meeting Friday, with John Hemphill, director of Workforce development in Ruidoso, via the polycom system.

By Liliana Castillo: CNJ staff writer

The New Mexico Commission on the Status of Women is helping Clovis area homemakers head back into the workforce.

The commission’s Displaced Homemakers office is offering a free workshop called Effective Work Search Skills.

Lorraine Bantista, coordinator of the Displaced Homemakers Office, said the four-part workshop aimed at women will cover self assessment, types of job search techniques, tapping into the hidden job market and preparing for the interview.

Jan Bradburn, manager of the Curry County NM Workforce Connection office, said women in the Clovis area are looking at heading back to work.

“Women are faced with heading back to work for a variety of reasons. Maybe their husband has been laid off because of the recession or they feel under-employed. Some don’t feel equipped to enter the job market. This is a wonderful way to empower them,” Bradburn said. “We know they have the skills, it’s just a matter of putting them in the right format.”

Bantista said the commission focuses on having gender specific classes.

“We use a very hands-on approach that takes into consideration the specific needs that women might have,” Bantista said. “This workshop is different than your average workshop.”

Bantista said it helps women to meet other women in similar situations and to work together.

Bantista said the self assessment portion will determine interests and capabilities of the women.

Bantista said the bulk of the workshop will focus on how to search for jobs outside want ads and the Internet. She said she’ll push attendees to do cold calling and talk to employers in a one-on-one interview that focuses on obtaining information.

“There’s nothing that’s in my class that wouldn’t benefit men as well and men are welcome, too. But the workshop is focused and geared toward women and their specific issues,” Bantista said.

The workshop will be broadcast via Polycom, a video conferencing tool which allows two groups to interact with each other. The system is located at the New Mexico Workforce Connections office.

Bradburn said the commission helps women be more successful in their job search.

“They are truly helping women who are displaced or underemployed for what they can do,” Bradburn said.

Bradburn said she and co-manager Matt Barela have been working on connecting the eastern side of the state with services available in Santa Fe and Albuquerque.

“It’s been a goal for us to say ‘yes, we are remote but the fact of the matter is, there is no reason for us to miss out on any cutting edge technology,’” Bradburn said.

Bantista said the workshop is her pilot effort and if it works well, she will teach more workshops across the eastern side of the state without leaving her office in Albuquerque.

“We’re just hoping with budget cuts and all the different things going on right now with the state and money, we will be able to hit a lot more places and help a lot more women,” Bantista said.

Seating for the free workshop is limited to 30.