By Angelina Klouthis
If you are looking for a job, want to advance in your career, or learn more about training opportunities, the Maine CareerCenters are a great place to start. Each CareerCenter has a team of consultants ready to assist you, no matter what your career goals are. To learn more, DOL talked with Diane Uwera, a career consultant based in Portland CareerCenter.
Please tell us a little about yourself
I grew up in Rwanda and have been working as a career consultant at the Greater Portland CareerCenter for almost a year. Although I am somewhat new to my position, it brings me great joy to connect community members to career opportunities.
CareerCenters provide a variety of employment and training services at no charge for workers and businesses. We assist all sizes of employers with recruiting, hiring, training, workforce services, and access to labor market information. We also help individuals or job seekers connect with quality training and employment.
What typically happens when someone comes to a CareerCenter for the first time?
There is always a team member available to welcome people to the CareerCenter and let them know about services and programs. Typically, we first ask a few questions to determine the individual’s needs.
Even if you aren’t sure what you want to do, the CareerCenter is a great place to explore work options. We have some fun activities that we can guide you through to help determine what might be a great fit. Some of my favorite career programs for people interested in trying something new are “earn-while-you-learn” opportunities – where you earn a paycheck while you explore new opportunities.
With Maine JobLink, an online resource we can help you navigate, we can assist individuals in finding a job and learning about resources related to employment and training services. These services include, but are not limited to: upcoming workshops, job trainings, funding, and support services for eligible Maine residents to pursue degree programs or other training that can lead to high-wage, quality jobs.
What if I need help making a resume?
Everyone can benefit from resume help! If you are new to making a U.S. resume, we offer introductory classes. If you already have a resume, a CareerCenter consultant will work with you to improve what you have.
A career counselor like myself can also sit down with you and share ideas. Depending upon your experience, we can recommend interview workshops or get you connected to other opportunities to highlight all of the skills you would bring to an employer.
What if I have a complicated past history of employment?
We believe that each person has unique skills to offer. Whether you are foreign-trained, have a history with the criminal justice system, took some time out of the workforce, or just don’t have a lot of experience, we can help. We will work with you to understand any barriers you may have, as well as your challenges, and your dreams. We have a lot of experience meeting people where they are – for example, if they need an employer that offers a flexible work schedule because of childcare issues, or if they need help with transportation.
5. What if I don’t speak English?
CareerCenters strive to employ staff that reflect the communities they serve. For example, I speak French and am happy to help people out in French. Additionally, any customer who requests an interpreter can have one for free for the duration of services offered in the CareerCenter. Each CareerCenter has a sign posted – just point to your preferred language and a team member will get an interpreter on the phone if needed.
6. Where are the CareerCenters located and how can I connect?
There are 12 CareerCenter locations in the state, and all have both in-person and virtual services. CareerCenter staff can also often be found out in the community, such as in local libraries. To find your local CareerCenter, visit www.mainecareercenter.gov/locations/. The CareerCenter can also be reached by email at [email protected], by phone at (207) 623-7981, or through the LiveChat feature at MaineCareerCenter.gov.