Saturday, March 20, 2010

Dropping the Ball Lange

I have a new certificate to add to my ever-growing collection of certificates of accomplishment. Yesterday, I completed a three-week job finding and self-marketing seminar with a human resources consulting firm called Ball Lange & Associates.

The program is funded by the Ontario government (so far), and I've found it to be invaluable. All aspects of job finding are covered including evaluating my goals and my personal work profile, résumé writing, interview skills as well as what resources are available and how best to use them.

The program's biggest focus is on tapping into the "hidden" job market; that is job openings that are never advertised. To that end, it focuses heavily on networking as well as researching and cold calling (sorry, "gold" calling) organizations. It is estimated that 80 to 90 percent of all job vacancies are never advertised. That means that those who limit themselves to the classified ads and the internet job sites are limiting themselves to only 10 to 20 percent of the market.

So, for the past three weeks, I've spent seven hours a day, five days a week at the Ball Lange offices with a group of eleven other people, learning how to mine the job market more effectively, market myself more successfully, and basically working full time at looking for full time work. I had full use of their facilities (business directories, computers, internet, photocopiers, fax machines and phones) with the right to continue using the Ball Lange offices and facilities even after completing the program, and I even got 250 personal calling cards printed and a genuine Ball Lange coffee mug, all at no charge to me. Such a deal!

I estimate that this program has probably at least doubled my effectivity in looking for a new job to replace my previous, non-functioning one. That concurs with Ball Lange's statistics, which estimate that 75 percent of those who completed the program found work relative to their skills and experience (i.e. not asking "Would you like fries with that?") within three to six months of completing the program.

Okay, pop quiz, hot shot! You're the Ontario government. Your province is in a recession, so unemployment is high. You're funding a program that teaches invaluable job search skills and gets three out of four people who take the course off unemployment and back to work, happily paying taxes again. What do you do? Why, you cut the program's funding of course! That way, you not only put an end to a proven effective job search program, but you also shut down the organization that ran the program, thus putting all their people out of work as well, all in one fell swoop! On the bright side, at least those people know how to effectively look for new jobs.

That's right, as incredible as it may seem, the Ontario government has "changed their funding formula" for programs aimed at getting the unemployed back to work and, apparently, the new formula involves not giving any further funds to Ball Lange & Associates. Why? Because Ball Lange specializes in job search skills, but they don't do re-education or re-training, and the provincial government, in its wis-dumb, has decided they only want to fund organizations that do everything - you know, jacks of all trades, masters of none.

I have just two things to say about that. One, it's a bloody shame and, two, I'm sure glad I got in before Ball Lange & Associates close their doors in July. Three, (Three things! I have three things to say about that!), see you at the polls, Mr. McGuinty.

1 comment:

James Woo said...

Do you think that I am going to get one even didn't finish last two weeks? James